In Luke 6:27-28, Jesus says, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who abuse you.”
In verses 32-33, He says, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”
If that strikes you as difficult to do, it should. We can’t do it in our own human strength. Loving people with whom we disagree takes the Spirit of God working through us. People are complex, a mosaic of their experiences, their upbringing, and their hurts and joys. People are not an issue to be solved; they’re to be loved and cared for in grace and truth.
That means we must maintain a healthy sense of respect. Self respect will not allow us to accept certain things as normal. We will make sure tat everyone we meet, we treat with respect and regard and surround ourselves with people who do the same. The person with self-respect simply likes her- or himself. This self-respect is not contingent on success because there are always failures to contend with. Neither is it a result of comparing ourselves with others because there is always someone better. These are tactics usually employed to increase self-esteem. Self-respect, however, is a given. We simply like ourselves or we don’t. With self-respect, we like ourselves because of who we are and not because of what we can or cannot do.
Self-respect is having the proud feeling that you matter. It’s the natural outcome of holding what you see with acceptance and compassion. People who’ve suffered abuse as children or young adults internalize the negative messages they’ve heard from others; they lose self-respect and don’t acknowledge their own worth. Compromised self-respect must be reclaimed-and it can be
When we have self respect we are capable of loving people in an appropriate way.