Matthew 22:39 "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."God knows that each person loves himself. Therefore, the standard of loving others is to love them in the same manner and degree. Some would argue that the person with low self-esteem doesn't love himself. This proposal is at odds with truth:
Ephesians 5:29 "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:"Unless God is naïve, then, why do some commit suicide? God is always right! That is a basic trait of Holy Scripture. He is not right sometimes, and wrong sometimes. It says "No man ever hated his own flesh". That means in all time every person who ever was always loved himself. In fact, scripture points toward mankind's basic problem: everyone loves themselves too much. Some love the self and not God, and others love themselves and God, but in all cases people always love themselves!
Those who commit suicide do so, not because they hate themselves, but because they love themselves so much that they can't stand hurting. The easiest way out of desperation is to end one's life. Desperation is when one can't stand pain or suffering anymore. They seek escape. Suicide saves the one they love from feeling pain. I believe it is the ultimate act of self-love. It even puts the love of self over the love of family and friends since those living are the ones who suffer the most. Consequently, those who murder the self show more self-love than love of others.
When people love themselves, their desire is to do what's right in their own eyes. This is found time after time in Holy Scripture. In essence, man so loves himself that he does what he wants rather than God's will. God says: Do not murder, but man says, I will if I hurt badly enough. God did not allow that escape clause because his desire is that none should perish (John 3:16). Of course, this applies to eternal life but those who murder may not get that eternal life - only God knows His own bounds of love. The bizarre John 3:16 seems to be: I so loved me, I don't want to perish, that although God gave his only begotten son, whosoever loves himself should not perish but have eternal life. If you think that is bizarre, why is it that you sought salvation? To save your own wretched skin from eternal death because you love yourself so much! God, however, overlooked that because you said that you are willing to put yourself aside and turn to Jesus.
Original sin is a case of self-love without regard to God's will. Adam and Eve were given a command, and the pair loved themselves over God; they did their own will, and not God's. Original sin is paramount self-love, and each time we sin, we do so to the satisfaction of the self.
God knows how much people love their own self. He knew that on that day in paradise when two people jeopardized immortality by loving themselves. Since, that is God's reference point as a jealous God: man must love God more than self, or he becomes his own god. Likewise, the same applies to loving others. People must never Lord it over others.
1 Peter 5:3 (NIV) "...not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock."Christians are to appraise their value fairly. No one is better than the other, and as such, we are to not Lord it over others. Because we love ourselves so much, most people have a tendency to put themselves first. That is not to be!
Perhaps one fails often. The person usually responds with, "I feel like I failed." No! It is not a feeling... people do fail! Failing is good for people. It creates meekness because only God is perfect. Meekness is sort of the opposite of self-esteem. Scripture never even implies that we should think highly of ourselves.
Romans 12:3 (NIV) "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you."Most people do think too highly of themselves. Scripture says to judge oneself with sobriety. That is being realistic of the value of oneself. I propose, as I often do, that without God our value is in the range of a bag of fertilizer - about $10.00. With God we are priceless! Not that we have more self-worth but that we are valuable enough in God's eyes to obtain unmerited favor. The meek are those who do merit favor! Indeed, those who appraise their value using God's metric shall inherit the earth (Psalm 2:8). The focus in this passage is on God at the expense of the self.
Indeed, obtaining salvation is submitting the god of self to God for his mercy.
Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."That sacrifice of the self is change. The old creature loves himself, the new creature loves God. We put ourselves on the cross and crucify the old self with Jesus.
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."Paul said that about himself as Saul died, and Paul arose from the self. Paul was the new creature. Saul was crucified with Christ. He traded the love of Saul for the love of Christ, and the new creation was Paul who had Christ inside, where love of Saul once was!
What I still see, even in church, are a group of people who are in love with themselves. Many have not traded self-love for love of Christ. With some it's obvious; they dress fit to kill, not the old self, but fend off the new! I see others who think church is all about them. I fight that, and so do you. People seem to demand that everything be done their way, just as Burger King caters to their whims. I see people who sin greatly but fail to look at their own self with Light. They have nothing to fear but their own self - the one there loving their George more than others - another loving their Harriett more than others. The others loving their me before their they, let alone before their Jesus!
What is the cure for self-love. To die in Christ just as Paul did. We must each spiritually murder our own flesh to save the soul. It's a dirty task but we must do it. Not alone, but with Jesus there on the cross, taking away the sting of spiritual death! Here's how to murder the self:
James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."With that mindset, your name changes. It is no longer Me but Him! Self-esteem is put on the cross alongside Jesus, and the malefactor who was you looks at Jesus a different way - with Christ-esteem!