Too often how we see others, indeed how we often see ourselves, has less to do with God’s perspective and more to do with our culture’s perspective. The value we see in others may depend on how they can be helpful to us (What can you do for me?). The value we see in ourselves may depend on what we accomplish or possess (What have I made of myself?).
Pastor and writer Peter Scazzero shares in his Day by Day devotional book that Bernard of Clairvaux (AD 1090 – 1153) described four degrees of love:
1. Loving ourselves for our own sake 2. Loving God for God’s gifts and blessings 3. Loving God for God alone 4. Loving ourselves for the sake of God
“The highest degree of love, for Bernard, was simply that we love ourselves as God loves us --- in the same degree, in the same manner, and with the very same love. We love the self that God loves, the essential image and likeness of God in us that has been damaged by sin.”
You are created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). All that you are as a living human being (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) is created, loved, and as a believer in Jesus Christ one day will be redeemed and made whole by God. No matter who you are, where you’ve been, or what you’ve done… God desperately and deeply loves you!
My prayer is that you will know and delight in all of who you are as a beloved child of God!