Acceptance has been on my mind lately. Specifically acceptance of myself. What does that look like? I’m flawed and have hang-ups. Am I supposed to accept that? It seems wrong, but what’s the alternative? Rejecting ourselves? Is it better to hold yourself in disfavor until you become the person God dreamed of you being before He created you? Is it okay to withhold love from yourself?

I don’t think so because hidden within the verse, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” is the command to love yourself.  What?! Self-love has gotten a bad rap, probably because it’s used to describe selfishness. But loving yourself doesn’t come at other people’s expense. It’s the only right posture toward anybody, including ourselves. God never told us to love everyone except ourselves and He wants us to love with His love, which is unconditional.

Yes, I struggle and yes, I love myself.

This brings me back to acceptance because unconditional love lavishes affection on the erring ones. God accepts me right now, flaws and all. Maybe I can try to do the same. Yes, I struggle and yes, I love myself. I’m not waiting ‘til I reach the elusive ‘after’ of befores and afters. Doesn’t that seem audacious? But if we don’t deny our faults, the only alternative to accepting ourselves is punishing ourselves. And if Jesus decided not to punish us, who are we to overrule Him? He’s given us a free pass and He’s asked us to be like a child. I think a child would run with it. Probably squeal with joy too, while running with it.

*Matthew 22:39