Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. – Genesis 1:26-27
As human beings, we are supposed to be proud of our heritage as we are created in the image of God, the Creator of our universe. We should be glad that God has gifted us with stewardship of the earth; and has given us the freedom to decide and to love.
But because of humankind’s fallen state, everyone, at some point in their life, struggles with who they are as they eventually realize that they are not perfect and that life is hard. Though many are able to get their life back on track, some continue to battle with their self-image, wrongly believing they are not lovable.
If left unchecked, these negative beliefs cause them to further tarnish God’s image within as they succumb to problems like addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma which destroy their self-worth.
Respect for God’s Image
You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. – Exodus 20:4-6
I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images. – Isaiah 42:8
As the Creator of all, God demands utmost respect for His image. No one is supposed to try and replicate Him in any form as no work of man could ever hope to capture His majesty and power. Not only that, He knows that any attempt to do so would just lead others astray, as the Bible so clearly illustrates. This is why throughout Scripture it was made very clear that doing so was forbidden.
However, respecting His image does not solely pertain to works outside; it also means respect for God’s image within. We should value our self-worth. After Christ’s ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit came to reside inside all believers, making us temples of God. In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, the apostle Paul rebuked the sinning believers at Corinth, stating, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
He then touches on Christ’s sacrifice in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 by mentioning: “ Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
It is very clear that we are to respect ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually; since we were made in the image of God, the Holy Spirit dwells within, and because of the high price that was paid for our freedom.
Destructive Circumstances that Disrespect His Image
While it may seem inconceivable for someone to destroy God’s image within, since that essentially means hurting oneself; in this day and age, it really occurs. Sadly, many of us fall victim to circumstances that lower our self-worth, causing us to believe we are not lovable.
Victims of Addiction
Addiction is a thief that robs, steals, kills, and destroys the image of God within us. When people are addicted, their drug (substance, behavior, food, person, etc) becomes their God and they give away their power to that drug. They chose to remain enslaved and mar the image of God within them.
We likely sought addictive substances and behaviors to cope with our low self esteem and lack of self-worth. Tragically, not only do our addictions fail to improve our self-worth but, even worse, they further destroy our view of ourselves. Low self worth drives addiction and addiction drives low self worth.
Victims of Fear
Trauma is another serious issue that causes people to forget that they were made in the image of God. Because of terrible circumstances at home or elsewhere, some of us lost our confidence in ourselves and others. Instead of waking up every day with joy in our heart, we are afraid, stifling personal growth and hurting our relationships.
In really bad situations, victims of trauma, such as abuse, grow up with hatred in their heart against those who have hurt them; and even hatred at themselves as they were too weak or too naïve to avoid the danger in the first place. In other instances, some who were once abused may even become abusers themselves, going against the goodness that is supposed to be in their heart. There is a saying in recovery, “Hurt people; hurt people.”
Victims of Self-Hate
Depression is another enemy of God’s image within as it brings down the spirit. The word “Depression” literally translates as “To push down.” We feel pushed down and, additionally, the image of God within us is pushed down.
Depression is more than just the usual sadness, something that everybody feels. Depression goes much deeper, causing the sufferer to believe that the world would be better off without them. Aside from preventing them from having a productive life, depression may cause a person to actually hurt themselves (self-injury) or take their own life (suicide). This is a very unfortunate situation indeed as the sufferer is basically rejecting God’s gift of life, freedom, and love.
Victims of Worry
Anxiety is one more difficulty that many today battle, including very popular celebrities and athletes. Due to various pressures and expectations from family, peers, and the community around, some people are no longer able to achieve their potential as they are afraid to even try.
As beings made in the image of God, the power to create is deep within. People are meant to invent, create works of art, solve problems, and build relationships to help one another and to care for the earth as its stewards. Anxiety prevents this from occurring as people hold back, fearful of failure or rejection. In their heart, they feel inept and unworthy.
Learning to Love Yourself
We are created in the image of God, and that image demands utmost respect. However, since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), many today suffer from psychological afflictions that destroy their self-worth.
Thankfully, we have a Savior who has redeemed all believers, regardless of the failures and the flaws that reside within. In Romans 3:8-10 the believers in Rome (and the believers of today!) are reminded:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
As believers, Christ is the source of our dignity. This is a very essential truth to grasp. Contrary to what society dictates, our worthiness does not come from who we are or what we have achieved, it comes from what Jesus Christ has done on our behalf. If Christ is within us, then we are lovable and worthy even if we have fallen victim to addiction, fear, self-hate, or worry.
Christian Counseling for Those Who Think They are Not Lovable
By this, the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:9-10
The solution to overcoming doubts about your self-worth and learning to love yourself begins by entrusting your life to Christ. This gift is free to all who call upon His name. However, because of years of shame, hatred, and self-doubt, it is possible that you still struggle to achieve such peace on your own. If this is you, it is best to seek Christian counseling.
In Christian counseling, the latest therapeutic techniques will be applied to help you understand and face your psychological and emotional problems. After years of suffering, professional help is often needed to clarify what exactly is at the root of your inner turmoil.
But most importantly, your relationship with Jesus will be strengthened through prayer and meditation on Scripture. You will be reminded that you are created in the image of God and that God loves all parts of you, especially the hurting and shameful parts that are obscuring His image in you.
Biblical principles will also be taught and practiced so that you may forgive those who have hurt you and seek reconciliation with loved ones that you may have shut out because of your suffering.
If you believe that you are not lovable and negatively view your self-worth, seek Christian counseling soon. Learning to love yourself becomes easier once you learn to allow Jesus to heal your deeper inner wounds and practice living more fully in the image of God He created in you.
“Love,” courtesy of Gerome Viavant, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Country Woman”, Courtesy of Republica, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Sunset Hope Walkway”, Courtesy of Skimejon,0717, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Love Died Cross”, Courtesy of jclk8888, Pixabay.com, CC0 License