I have never considered myself to be a bully. I’ve been on the receiving end of bullying and to put it plainly, it sucks. There are few things on this side of eternity worse than feeling rejected, or like an outsider. Because of this, I try to do the opposite of bullying whenever I meet someone new. I try to make them feel welcome. I try to make them feel comfortable. I try to show them the same kindness that Christ has shown me.
However, recently, God has revealed something to me that caught me by surprise.
I do not always show that same level of kindness towards myself.
Just recently, I was praying for God to reveal to me anything in my life that is wrong, and not of Him. I started praying that He would point out any area of my life where I was falling short, so that I could correct those areas and walk in the path that He has for me. And as I was praying, I found myself saying things like “God, forgive me for the way that I talk to myself…forgive me for the words that I speak over myself….”
This was almost shocking to me, because I hadn’t previously thought of myself as being mean to, well, myself. But as God was pointing these things out to me I realized that everything I was saying was correct. Without even realizing it, I have been bullying myself.
I was saying things to myself that I would never dare say to another human being. About my abilities. About my talents. About my appearance. About the way that my personality is wired. When I thought about myself, I wasn’t looking at myself the way that Christ does, or through a lens of godly humility, but through a distorted filter that had come straight from the devil. Odds are, most of us would never consider ourselves to be a bully, but how many of us have bullied ourselves with thoughts that are not of God? How many of us have remembered the first part of Mark 12:30-31 (to love your neighbor), but forgotten the second part (to love yourself) of that same passage?
It’s funny how easy it is to justify bullying towards ourselves—to write it off as simply having high standards for yourself. But Biblically, there’s a big difference between striving for excellence and speaking destructive words against yourself. Look no further than Psalm 139:13-18 to see exactly what God has to say about you.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.”
When we start to speak negativity over ourselves, we are speaking words of destruction against a person that God created, loves, and died for. We are speaking against a son or daughter of God. We are speaking against the very temple where the Holy Spirit resides. Few people in the Old Testament times would have dared speak against the Tabernacle, where God took up residence under the Old Covenant.
It was considered holy and anyone who spoke out against it would have immediately drawn shock and absolute horror from the people around them. But as New-Covenant Christians, we believe God lives inside of each one of us. 1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” This means that God’s Spirit literally makes His home inside of every person who believes in Jesus and trusts Him as their Savior. So why would we feel it’s OK disrespect God’s dwelling place now? And if God has called us treasured, unique, and beautiful, why would we choose to see ourselves any differently?
This week I want to challenge you to change the way that you speak over yourself. I want to challenge you to love yourself—not in a conceited way, but in the way that God calls us to love and value ourselves in the Scriptures. To remember that you are immeasurably loved (John 3:16), chosen and adopted into God’s family (Ephesians 1:5), and created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
So choose to rest in God’s love.
Choose to live in His freedom.
And choose to remember who HE says you are!
“We have become his poetry,[a] a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works[b] we would do to fulfill it!” – Ephesians 2:10 (TPT).