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Have you ever wondered why self acceptance matters in the Christian walk? For the Christian, it may determine whether or not she is successful in achieving the goals and having the priviledges that God wants to bestow in this life.
Our understanding is further enhanced by the example that the author of the Bible laid out for us through the women he highlights for individual commendation. Mary, Hannah, and Rahab are three that God gave special priviledges to who were noted to be remarkable in faith, self knowledge, and willingness to turn to God rather than their circumstances.
Jesus’ Command, “to Love”
Jesus requires something of us; that is to “love God,” love ourselves, and love our neighbor in the same manner as one who know how to love themself. He has also requested that we learn to forgive others as God makes a practice of forgiving us. We can read his words at Matthew 6:12 and here https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2022%3A36-40&version=NIV .
Its true that society judges women according to appearance, status, and relationships. Most of those things are external and society may not be much different in the way it judges men. However, how and what that ultimately means to our individual or collective experience, in life, is based on the view of ourselves that we choose to hold and act upon.
This is why the bible encourages us to examine ourselves; Not in a judgemental way in which we condemn ourselves and then by extension others. But in a way that looks over our choices from time to time, our conduct, and our mental state to see where we are and if we need to adjust anything externally or internally to ensure that our view lines up with what God has said about us to us specifically, and to women or mankind in general https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Romans%2012%3A3 .
We All Have Blind Spots
We all have blind spots and areas where we can improve in our self acceptance. And yes, the ultimate goal is so that we can have a better life now and in the one to come. It is also so that we do not think too much or too little of who we are.
Jesus seemed to show how he deals with each one of us through the example he provided in dealing with his Apostles and disciples: personably and with a view to our own benefit. In fact, he once asked a disciple, “if I say this about him (speaking of the Apostle John), how does that hurt or hinder you (speaking to the Apostle Peter)?” You can read the account here, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+21%3A22&version=NIV .
We don’t want to start and maintain a competitive comparison with others. Though it may be similar, each of us has unique circumstances that impact us. Once we are stronger where we need to be, we can use our life’s experiences to help another woman in similar circumstances or who may benefit from our knowledge.
In order to do this in an effective, positive way, that returns to us God’s good will, we need to know ourselves from a human standpoint, be willing to allow God to show us his view of our reflection – warts and all – and be willing to learn how to remove any hindrances that block the joy and happiness His holy spirit wants to place in our lives.
The Road to Life is Narrow
When it comes to Jesus’ directive about love and the Christian walk, it becomes even more imperative to listen because he says that most are on a road that has very little self reflection and much more ‘follow the crowd.’ Sometimes, by mere appearance, you cannot tell which road someone is on. Sometimes, the correct road is so narrow, it seems to be you alone experiencing the bumps and ridges.
Knowing what you want in life, why you want it, and assessing your own qualities that help or hinder your goal is a first step. You can read Jesus’ words here about such self examination, https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Luke%2014%3A28 . The end result, if tried with patience, self acceptance and extension of grace to others, is a life of good will https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%206%3A38&version=KJV.
Though the results may not look like much externally, because God rewards us “in secret”, we should find that we have a more accurate view of ourselves and much assistance from the Almighty in carrying out our dreams and plans.
Help from God when We Don’t Know How
Not everyone has the mental framework to self examine or accept themselves as the bible recommends. However, God has never asked us to do something He isn’t willing to help us accomplish. In all cases, He is willing to step in when we fall short (Psalms 34:19).
The key is to be willing: willing to admit our faults, tell God where we feel we are strongest, and learn to go to Him when we know we just don’t measure up. In fact, what Christ seems to suggest is that right or wrong, we often measure out to others just how much we perceive God has measured to us.
Self acceptance is, in that sense, something that can be learned as we grow in our Christian walk. As women, we want an accurate mirror and measurement, which God provides. Consider Jesus’ words here https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2011%3A29-30&version=KJV.
Learning from Christ’s is most of the journey that self acceptance turns out to be. Yet, most significantly, it is crucial to know how and why his words and life can benefit us. Without such understanding or admission of the need to understand we may judge ourselves according to the measuring stick of those who have an even greater task along the way than we do. We may also find that our path, our destined guideposts, and realized dreams are diverted or delayed. The opposite is with Christ and God, we know our foundation to be sure because our God is greater than our hearts https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/1%20John%203%3A20 and He loved us first.