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Question

I don't know how to love God or myself.

Answer

Thank you for this question about knowing the love of God. I will begin answering your question with how we love ourselves.

We should love ourselves in the sense of valuing our very existence as a gift of God, and who we are as individuals because God made us in His image (see Genesis 1:26-27); that means you! You are a special act of creation by God. He made you with a unique combination of qualities that perhaps no other person on earth possesses in the same way. That is true of each and every one of us. Many people suffer from low self-worth because they have come to dislike themselves through some terrible failure in life, or just because someone kept telling them they were no good, or having failures, or something similar. If this is what you mean by saying you cannot love yourself, you should ask a counsellor for help, and there are Christian counsellors you can find through your local church. God says different: He looked at what He made at the beginning and said it was "very good" (Genesis 1:31).

We should not love ourselves in the sense of thinking we have no faults, or of putting ourselves first and thinking of ourselves as deserving more special treatment than other people around us.

There are two reasons for this: first, everyone else has been made by God just as you and I have been. They deserve to be treated with the same value as ourselves. To think otherwise is to be proud and self-deluding. Second, everyone has sinned, including you and me. Despite being made in God's image, we are fallen from God so that we are under the power of sin: all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There is none righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10). There is an evil and ugly aspect to ourselves, part of which is to treat ourselves as deserving to be pampered and spoiled with self-indulgence, and to justify evil in ourselves that we condemn in others.

Your second question is about loving God. Jesus said that we should love God and love our neighbour as ourselves:

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself". (Matthew 22:37-39)

The main way we show love to God is through accepting that He loves us and sent His Son to die for the wrong that we have done that separates us from God.

Further on in the Bible it says that all love comes from God and we cannot truly love unless we know God's love through Jesus:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11)

It is also important that we love ourselves. Not in a proud or arrogant way, but in a self respecting way. We need to acknowledge that we have been created by God and that He loves us.

We also need to love God and others by trying to follow and obey God's commandments for our lives:

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:1-3)

In summary the way to love God is to acknowledge what He has done for you in Christ’s death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sin. Then live for God, and show your love for Him by following His commandments. As you do these things you will be able to love yourself as you realise God loves you and has forgiven you and has a plan and a purpose for your life.

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church

Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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