Loving Yourself and Others – Part 2

By Michael Smith

In my last devotion I talked about connecting with God, and now I want to talk about connecting with others.

What came to my mind when I thought about connecting with others was my men’s group, my recovery group, and my Church, and each of these groups have played a positive impact on loving myself over time. The second part of Luke 10:27 in the NIV says “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Now, a common notion that I hear is that it is much easier to love your neighbour, rather than yourself. That’s what I want to focus more on loving yourself today, rather than your neighbour, although acknowledging that they are both very important, we need to try and keep it balanced.

In my men’s group, we have had quite a few conversations over the last year about this, and these conversations have been very fruitful. I know this because on my birthday last year, I found myself celebrating with my work colleagues by making a cheesecake. Then, serving it at the meeting, for all my work colleagues, and my manager to enjoy. The clients as well!

I got anxious about making it look like, you know, I was building myself up by saying “Oh look at me, it’s my birthday”, and a good friend of mine suggested that the best place to be is to be confident in who I am. Yet to stay humble, by expressing that I am God’s creation. Years ago, I would have never said anything and I wouldn’t like to hear the well wishes of people who knew. It sounds a bit odd, but that’s all just due to a lack of self-love and self-worth, and low self-esteem.

In my recovery group, one of the focus questions that we have is ‘Who do you find easier to forgive? Yourself, God, or others? Why?’ And the responses vary. I won’t go into my answer now because this is not the time nor the place for that, but I do acknowledge that people have different reasons, views, and opinions, based on their own experiences, and that is okay. I will leave that question for you to stew on.

Now, with Church, hearing messages on Jesus’ commandment to love yourself and your neighbour, talking about how loving yourself looks like in everyday life in Bible Study, and seeing how other congregants in Church have been loving themselves, I gain a lot of encouragement into how to love myself better. So, why do we need to love ourselves? God wants us to love others, and live our lives, but how can we do that if we can’t love ourselves?

I’ll leave you with this theory. Loving ourselves first will help everything else fall into place.


Michael Smith has been a volunteer at our National Camp, Auckland CFFD and Drop-in Centre. He has been working with people with disabilities for several years.