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Article -- ...and I Love You Too
by Joyce Poet
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A little ditty I sang as a very small child:

I love myself.
I love me so.
I take myself to a picture show.
I get so fresh,
I slap my face.
And I take myself to a pony race.

Im not sure why I sang that song. It was far from the truth. I suppose it must have just been easy enough to remember and cute enough to repeat.

It's been said that you never really know yourself until you spend an abundance of time alone with yourself. I, like most people, had my mind made up that it wasn't something I particularly cared to experience. Knowing myself wasn't at the top of my list of priorities. But fate would have it that I wound up living alone for five years -- not something I'd wish on anyone! Though I wouldnt pray against Gods will for anyone either. In my case, its one of the best things that ever happened to me.

In that time, I learned something profound. I like myself! Of course, this revelation took the better part of those five years to finally sink in. But when it finally did, it amazed me. I'm a hard person to impress. And, if it is difficult for others to impress me, imagine how impossible it was for me to be pleased with me... especially since I know all about me, good AND bad.

During that period of time, the Lord had been leading me through the process of total forgiveness for all who've offended me at some time or another in my life. (I would like to pause here to remind you of Proverbs 18:19. A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. Since it is so hard to win over a brother {or sister in my case} offended, I am quite thankful that all things are possible with God.)

It took a long time. But one by one, the Lord pointed out all whom I needed to forgive. Note that I did not say ...all who needed my forgiveness. It seemed as though He chose the most difficult to get over first. Then we worked our way down a long list. (In fact, some were so difficult for me to forgive that the Lord graciously gave me dreams and/or visions and miraculous experiences to help me through the process.) Little did I know though, He was saving the most difficult for last.

I woke one morning, near the end of those five years, with the recollection of an incident that occurred over twenty years ago replaying on my conscience. At first, I fussed with the devil. God already forgave me! Leave me alone! But I couldnt seem to get passed it. Finally, I asked the Lord if perhaps He was trying to teach me something. I received no immediate answer or revelation.

Then, I began recalling many other incidences when Id made terrible decisions and times when Id been living deep in the clutches of disobedience. I began feeling quite disgusted with myself and overwhelmed by the long list of offences with my name written in bold print across their ugly faces. I liked myself less by the minute. How could I have been so far gone? How could I have offended God so horribly? And to think, I did it time after time after time!

Even in that terrible state of mind, life went on. The grocery store would not wait on me to get over the guilt. So I drug myself into the bathroom and stood combing my hair for a trip to buy dinner for the weekend. Looking into the mirror after that morning of pointing my own finger in my own face was, to say the least, horrid. I suddenly felt nauseous and began to cry out silently to God.

Thats when a still, small voice broke through the silence: You must forgive yourself. How can you say that you love my people when you are one of my people and you don't love yourself? As you love others, love you.

How can I? Remember when...?

And the Lord reminded me of someone Id forgiven whod done exactly the same thing.

Yes, but remember when...?

Again, someone Id forgiven had done the same thing. So, after several more remember whens, I said But Lord, it wasnt just one or two of those things. It was all of them. I did ALL of those things! I am horrible! How can You stand to even look at me, much less say that You love me?

Only God knows me better than I know myself. Everything done in the dark was being exposed to the Light. Everything done in secret was being shouted from the mountaintop. I was raw and wide opened -- every ugly little detail. And believe me, there were a LOT of them.

Sin has no size. There is no judiciary way of measuring it. It just IS. Whether murder or a tiny white lie, sin is sin. Whether a person has sinned once or five million times, ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And yes, God had forgiven me... once and for all even. But the fact remained, I had yet to forgive myself.

I had to look back in that mirror and see someone besides myself. I had to see that I was human and born with a sinful nature. For a moment, I didnt recognize the person I saw. My first instinct, outside that nausea, was to look at her with complete scorn. Throw a stone at her? No; Id rather have thrown a car at her.

(Im awfully brave for making this public. Theyve locked people up for lesser things than talking to themselves.) I said to her, out loud even, You make me sick!

Then He graciously reminded me that Id forgiven the others, not for all the things theyd ever done in their lives, but for the things that offended me personally. I had no way of knowing what anyone else had on their own look-how-guilty-I-am list. I only knew of my own list. (It would have stretched from sea to sea, Im sure.) I simply had no one to compare myself to except for Jesus.

Well, we all know what wed look like next to the only sinless man to ever walk the earth. Im reminded of Peter when the full realization of who Jesus really was hit him. He said Do not look on me, for I am a sinful man. Sinful -- full of sin -- That should be revelation for us all. Sin is not something we can hold in our hand and blow away like a dandelion. It is all-consuming.

I did manage to reach that place of self-forgiveness. Finally! But it wasnt easy. The kind of anger I felt toward myself that day may seem farfetched to some. But the Word teaches us to be angry and sin not. It was a humbling experience. It was the most difficult thing I have dealt with as a born again Christian. But it was most definitely for my good.

Im me. Im forgiven... by both the Lord and myself. I still sin and I refuse to sweep it under the rug. I get angry with myself sometimes too. Thats when I go to the Lord of Mercy and seek forgiveness there first. Then I ask Him to help me forgive myself. And He does so very graciously... but not one second before the sorrow I experience from it produces repentance. Our on-time God is so good!

And you know what? Im not so bad myself. In fact, Im more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus and Im even made in His image! I dont know about getting fresh and slapping my own face, but I do tend to treat myself to a picture show occasionally. Living with me isnt so bad. I love myself. I even like me alright too... for a human.

Just think of it -- Me and I have all of the exact same likes/dislikes. Who else can I say that about? We enjoy doing all the same things. I've found myself to be very good company for myself. Yep, I'm pretty okay with me. In fact, other than the Lord, I can't think of a single person I'd rather spend twenty-four hours a day with.

Give yourself a hug! You're pretty alright too!

Joyce Pool

II Corinthians 7:8-16

8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.

13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.

15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.

16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.

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...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19

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Member Comments
Member Date
Peggy Yengling 22 Jul 2005
Dear Treava, I was reading this excellent piece, still in bondage from not being able to forgive myself. Then, I came to this portion: You must forgive yourself. How can you say that you love my people when you are one of my people and you don't love yourself? As you love others, love you. Of all the advice and wisdom that has been shared with me over the YEARS, this went right to my heart! Thank you, dear Sis! Bless you for opening up your soul so that others may benefit from all that you've learned - this is exactly what God wants us to do! So, you've not only forgiven yourself, you are also ministering to others through your testimony and showing us HOW to forgive ourselves - through God's will. WIth love, always! Peggy
Lura Langenback 13 Mar 2005
I had to look at the name on the article to make sure it wasn't my own. That's how much your testimony resembles mine. Wow! Thank you. It is our Creator Father, Who is absolutely AWESOME in everything, that we serve. Aren't we blessed.
Honey Stone 11 Mar 2005
Love your neighbor as yourself. Bet you can REALLY love your neighbor. Imagine having a dream where you see firey eyes in the mirror across from you and they move to the side. If you can't love Joyce who you see in a mirror, how can you love God? I think you are loveable.
Desert Rose 11 Mar 2005
Yes, to love God is to love the marvelous things that He made. And yes you were wonderfully made! Thank the Lord that He helps us to see His grace through forgiveness. Psalm 139:13For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. 14I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
Mitzi Busby 09 Mar 2005
Amen! You are inspiring. There are many people who talk to themselves, but aren't brave enough to admit it. Smile This piece is a great lesson in life.
Sharon McClean 09 Mar 2005
Oh I hear you here Joyce! When God shines His search light in our hearts and we look at Jesus, all we can do is say, "Oh Lord, please have mercy." Like you, I find it far harder to forgive myself, then I do others. This article is a great reminder that we are not perfect, just forgiven. Love you, Sharon
jared broach 09 Mar 2005
God Continues to use you.In Loving ourself, we break down many barriers simaltaneously that have been holding us back from people, blessings, our potential, and God. When Love shows up not even Satan has a chance. Nothing can stand us when we have Love for ourSelf and eachother.God Be With You.


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