Learning to Love Ourselves

Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves. He commanded this. It is very difficult to love our neighbors correctly when we do not love ourselves. Most addicts struggle with loving themselves and their neighbors because they hold on to their past sins. Holding on to past sins prevents us from being made new by Christ. He cannot pour new wine skins on the old. It tears the fibers and destroys it. This lack of forgiveness of our past sins has to do with our pride. Working Steps 1 through 6 helps the addict to realize that this form of pride is an erroneous desire. Saint Paul in Ephesians 4 tells us to “put off the old man who is corrupted according to the desire of error, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put on the new man who, according to God, is created in justice and the holiness of truth.” How can we renew our minds to the truth about our past sins? This is no easy task, and impossible by our own power. When we admit our powerlessness (Step 1), turn to God (Steps 2-3), admit our faults and defects to God and others (Steps 4-5), then we become ready to have our erroneous desires removed (Steps 6 & 7) by a God who loves us however we are, and he loves us too much to keep us as we are in our erroneous desires. He desires that we “love the sinner, and reject the sins” in our lives. To love yourself requires being happy in our nothingness before God. This is humility in action, to be happy about our faults before God, trusting that God will remove those faults that are essential to doing His will, and He will use the faults that remain, for my good and the good of others. Humility is not a feeling but the action of trusting God completely by confessing our sins to Him, accepting His forgiveness, and taking actions of love to serve others without condition. God loves us without condition so we are to do the same to ourselves and others. Remember, progress not perfection!

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