Broken by society
In an age of social media, Photoshop, and Victoria Secret models, there is a silent expectation placed on young people from the beginning of their lives. Although no one is explicitly saying we have to look a certain way, there are judgments placed upon those that don’t look right.
These expectations are showing a high rate of damage to young people. According to anad.org, at least 30 million people in the USA struggle from an eating disorder and, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
Even those who don’t struggle with their body image may struggle with other parts of themselves and their identity such as their academic abilities, mental illnesses, or financial status.
Due to living in a society that focuses heavily on perfection, it has become common for people to hate themselves and to have such a high focus on meeting these expectations that they lose sight of God.
We are creation
As we all know, Genesis is the story of creation. In this book, it is written that
“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.”
(Genesis chapter 1, verse 7)
In the first chapter of Genesis alone God creates many things; the sea, the sky, light, animals, but mankind was the only thing he described as being in His image. Nothing else has the ability to reflect who God is.
Many people think nature, sunsets and animals are so beautiful and find a connection with being in nature and seeing the beauty of God, yet when it comes to ourselves we don’t see the splendour of God. Yet, we are not just made by God but made in his image. Something that should truly be more beautiful than anything else in creation.
The glorification of self-hate
Many Christians believe that repentance has to be a result of hating yourself.
Being able to say to God that you’re worthless and deserve to be hell-bound. Yet, God is able to love us through all of our sin, because he loves what he created and sin is not a part of that creation.
I believe that instead, repentance should focus on the regret of choosing sin instead of Gods will. We should hate the sin in our lives but not ourselves as a creation. Like the popular saying, ‘hate the sin not the sinner’.
It is important to love our souls and the person God created and a large part of this is being able to deny ourselves. God calls us to drop everything and follow him which is actually essential to loving ourselves because the best way that we can thrive in our lives is by letting ourselves be saved by God.
The power of God’s love
Overall, how can we let sin destroy us when God still loves us despite it?
How can we deny God’s love because of what society says about us? We were created in Gods image, the beauty of that will never cease to surpass the shallowness of societal beauty expectations.
I truly believe that we can’t hate ourselves with the knowledge that the creator of the world loves us so deeply and calls us his children. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”(1 John chapter 3, verse 1)
In conclusion, we shouldn’t let sin have such power over us that we hate ourselves because of it when God is so much bigger than all sin. And we shouldn’t hate ourselves because we don’t look like what society tells us we should when we were created in Gods image. If God, the creator of the universe, loves you, why shouldn’t you love yourself?
Olivia Reid studies criminology and media at The University of Auckland. She’s passionate about writing to better understand and communicate with God. She would love to hear your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.