“And a second unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). This statement made by our Lord was a partial answer to the question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” The Savior had first replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:25-37). The thought of ‘loving oneself’ might seem to be rather selfish and arrogant; however, Jesus has taught us to love others in the manner we love ourselves. The apostle Paul wrote, “Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:28). But, the question might be raised as to the why a person should love himself/herself.
We learn in Genesis 1:27 that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created them.” While man’s physical body was formed of the dust of the earth, that part of man that pertains to his spirit, mind and soul, was made in the likeness of his creator. Man is not a product of a mere accident or by chance. The Great, August God, the Creator of heaven and earth was both the Designer and the Maker of man. Such knowledge caused the Psalmist to declare: “I will give thanks unto thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Wonderful are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalms 139:14). Furthermore, God loved us and demonstrated that love by the giving of his only Son for our sins (John 3:16,17). Jesus tasted “of death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9). Since God has made us and loved us, surely we ought to love ourselves.
We can have self-respect without conceit; concern for self without selfishness; and love for self that is void of vanity. We should not be possessed with an inferiority complex or an attitude of “I’m not worth anything.” Jesus taught that the worth of one soul is more than the whole world (Matthew 16:26). Each one is indeed important in the sight of the Almighty God.
True happiness in this life comes from accepting ourselves as God has made us, and, in responding to the grace and love of the Heavenly Father by giving ourselves totally to His Son, Jesus Christ.