I have no doubt that we all love God, and I believe that we do our best to love our neighbor, but I don’t know if loving my neighbor as myself is always such a good idea. It’s my experience that most of us, or at least some of us, don’t love ourselves the way we should. In fact, some of our self talk can be downright brutal. At least this is true in my life.
Many of us, meaning society in general, have a tendency to put ourselves down and thus do not honor and respect the God who dwells within us. We may think that God’s timing is all wrong, that we should be better at our ministry, already over a difficult situation, or further along in our education, our relationships with others, or our spiritual journey. We doubt the fact that God has us right where we are supposed to be at this time and this place. Unfortunately, society tells us that we’re not quite right unless we look a certain way, dress a certain way, and act a certain way. This teaching has terrible effects on a person’s self esteem and self love.
Just ask the 24 million Americans of every age and gender who suffer from an eating disorder. Where are 81% of 10 year olds getting the message that they are too fat? Why do 42% of 1st – 3rd graders want to be thinner? What about the 47% of 5th – 12th graders who report they want to lose weight because of magazine pictures (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders). Do we really want them to love their neighbor as themselves when they have negative self images and abuse their bodies to meet an unrealistic ideal?