“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” Ephesians 5:25-30 NKJV
I think that this scripture brings up several valid claims in favor of how important it is to love yourself as a child of God. First, a love that is greater than any other is described: the love between Christ and the church. Then, husbands are commanded to give this same love and sacrifice to their wives, which are big shoes to fill when you compare them! Now, this scripture says that this same love is just as a husband loves his own body… woah, right? The love that Christ gives the church is the same love that we should have for ourselves and our flesh! How empowering and uplifting is that! I think this really speaks volumes on the whole “love yourself first” thing. How can you give love to someone else, when you don’t love yourself? You must love yourself to know how to love others, and understand love deeply. Just wait, it gets even crazier. This scripture actually says no one EVER hated their own flesh, but nourishes it and takes care of it! The way it is stated sounds like you’d be CRAZY if you didn’t love yourself! Cause you are AMAZING and a child of God Himself! This scripture says it like of course you should love yourself, are you crazy? You are God’s beloved! Of course you need to nourish and CHERISH your body. You hear that? CHERISH your body. Take care of it. Love your body and yourself. Then, the biggest hit to my heart of all, all of this love for yourself is the same as Christ loves the church. Let that sink in for a second. Let the unfathomable amount of love that exists between Christ and the church set in for a second. That is the same love you are meant to give yourself. Doesn’t that just get you right in the heart? All this time, that is the unrelenting love you have owed yourself. The end of the scripture I selected reminds me of this: we are all a part of His body. We are His flesh and bones and breath that He gave us. You are a part of Him. When you don’t love yourself, you’re also not loving our God. You are completely and entirely His. His creation and beauty and wonder and life. When you don’t love yourself, you are neglecting the love that is deserved by God’s creation. When you don’t love yourself, you are not loving a masterpiece that God spent time and attention and effort making. How much that must hurt His heart. He made you beautiful and worthy and deserving of love- from not only Him and others, but yourself, too.