Relat(able): Making Relationships Work

Day 2 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

The Man/Woman in the Mirror

Outside of your relationship with God, your relationship with you is the most important relationship you have. In fact, sometimes, your relationships with others will be messed up because of the relationship you have with yourself. You are influenced more by what you think about yourself than by what anyone else thinks about you.

Before you can start working on relationships with others, you need to start with the person you see in the mirror. In Matthew 22:37–39, Jesus says you are to love God and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Often it’s easier to focus on loving God, and on loving your neighbor, but not put enough emphasis on loving yourself. It’s important to understand the essential value of embracing God’s love for you and translate that into love for yourself.

If you don’t love yourself, you are actually negating the fact that God loves you. If you don’t love yourself, it means you don’t really understand God’s perception of you—that you are an awesome, precious, one-of-a-kind treasure, valuable enough to warrant the pain and sacrifice of Jesus. Yes, God will hold you to a high standard, but he is willing to extend mercy and grace to you in appropriate ways so you can fulfill the special purpose he designed for you.

When the truth of God’s love sinks into your heart, you can look in the mirror and say, “Well, if God sees me that way, then I’m going to see myself that way.” When you do, you are acknowledging what God has already spoken from heaven about you. God is reflecting your worth and purpose into the mirror, and you are then receiving and reflecting what God says about you. It doesn’t originate with what you think about yourself.

At some point, you have to say, “I love me. I don’t have it all together, I know, but I love me just like God does when I’m not perfect. God loved me when I had issues, so I can love me with my issues.” You need to be able to be thankful for yourself, because God is thankful for you. You need to tell yourself you are a rare and beautiful treasure, because that’s what God thinks about you. You need to extend to yourself the same forgiveness and grace that God extends to you. It does not honor Jesus for you to be hard on yourself and beat yourself up, because he already took the beating for you. God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all believe in you. And they are cheering you on with a great company of the heavenly host!

As you begin to love yourself, you can begin to love the world. Loving the world happens when you start listening to what God says and start seeing what God sees and then start speaking what God speaks over you. Loving yourself is thus critical, because if you don’t believe that God loves you, you will have an impossible time of trying to convince others that God loves them. In the end, what the world understands about Jesus will come from the love that they see you reflect from him in your life.

Respond

Do you believe that God would say he is pleased with you? Do you experience him as someone who cheers for you? Why or why not?

“It does not honor Jesus for us to be really hard on ourselves.” Can you relate to this statement? Do you ever beat yourself up? What triggers that kind of behavior?

What picture of God’s love do you reflect to the people in your life? How would a stronger sense of your value in God’s eyes influence others around you?