“I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man’s actions but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. …I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life — namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Ulike Lewis, I didn’t love myself. I didn’t love what I was doing, either. Sometimes, I still don’t. Okay, I don’t really hate myself, at least not anymore, but there are plenty of times I don’t like myself. That’s why I sit in awe as I read this passage from the Psalms.
“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. ……Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalms 139:1-12, 16 NASB
I’ve said this before, and I am sure to repeat it many more times: The GOD Who created everything, sun, moon, stars, planets, galaxies, and the very atoms and neutrons that compose them, knows me. He KNOWS me – and even knowing me, He LOVES me anyway….. AND He never leaves me!
That just blows my mind.
Back to C.S. Lewis’s statement about loving himself. I admire that. Think about it a minute. If GOD loves me, in spite of me being me, where do I get off not loving myself? It’s important that we distinguish our actions from our being. If The Great I Am loves me, there really isn’t any excuse for me not to love myself. That goes for you, too. Love yourself. Hate what you are doing, perhaps, but keep in mind that GOD created you and He loves you. He loves us so much that He came to earth, God incarnate, and sacrificed Himself so that we can spend eternity with Him if we choose. Our choice.
Think about how much He LOVES you.