Have you ever noticed how praise and encouragement can change a person's behaviour more effectively than criticism?
How a child's face lights up when praise is given while she unfolds and blooms like a flower?
As opposed to criticisms which cause the child's countenance and demeanour to wilt like a flower in dire need of water?
Yet some of us struggle to apply this same principle to ourselves.
Instead of giving ourselves a pat on the shoulder for the things we do right, we beat ourselves up for the things we do wrong or which we fail to do perfectly.
I've discovered that there is a huge difference between humility and self-deprecation.
Humility is a virtue which adopts an attitude of lowliness; of meekness and submission in preference of someone's opinion or authority over our own.
Self-deprecation takes that attitude to a lower level and turns it derogatorily to the undervaluing and belittling of oneself. Problems arise when self-criticism leads to self-rejection and self-hatred.
Running ourselves down gives no glory to the One who created us with such intricate love, pride and joy.
When we think negatively of ourselves or treat ourselves unkindly, we dishonour God who has made us in His image.
We are saying to Him that He has made a mistake in creating us the way we are (with our different personalities and characters), or the way we look (our appearances).
It is God's intention that we 'nourish' and 'cherish' ourselves in the same manner that He nourishes and cherishes the church (Ephesians 5:29).
His second commandment says that we are to love our neighbours as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).
It is only when we are able to love ourselves in a healthy way (not the self-centred, arrogant kind of way) that we are able to love others in the way that Jesus asks us to.
We can only give out of what we have.
When I am critical of myself, I will also tend to be critical of others.
When I show grace to myself, I will also be more gracious towards others.
When I am able to love myself, I will have more love for other people.
It is time to stop beating up God's child.
And time to receive the healing love of our Heavenly Father.
To allow our head knowledge of His love for mankind to become a heart experience of His love for us individually and personally.
To let Him remove the sting from the negative experiences of the past, bind up our wounds, heal our broken hearts, and mend our broken dreams.
He really does love us.....so very, very much.....
He has a wonderful future all planned out for us; a purpose for us to fulfil that is beyond our imagination.
And because He loves us so much, we can love ourselves, too!
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:38 ~
"... Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you." ~ Jeremiah 31:3 ~
"For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." ~ Ephesians 5:29 ~