Ginny Kochis contemplates 1 Corinthians 13 as a love letter from God, to be pondered when we find it hard to love ourselves.
We choose to love our families, our friends, and even those who persecute us. What do we do as women do, then, when it is hard to love ourselves? Turn to 1 Corinthians 13.
Everyone knows 1 Corinthians 13.
If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
It’s one of the most popular readings at weddings, and you’ll find it quoted just about everywhere as an example of true love. The passage itself makes sense when we apply it to our neighbors, but what about when we apply it to our own hearts?
For me, at least, this is where things get sticky. I can love my neighbor till the cows come home. But to love myself and see the goodness inherent in my creation?
That’s something else entirely, and it’s altogether very hard.
1 Corinthians 13 and the Gift of Self-Worth
Celebrating self-worth is a challenge. We live in a society that assures us we are broken simply by virtue of our sex. While the advertising industry is getting better, we’re still forced to question who we are by virtue of the images we see. We question how much we weigh, what we wear, and what we capable of doing on a daily basis.
We begin to question our worthiness as a child of God.
Fortunately, though, we’re not lost to this set of lies and frustrations. Let’s turn to the gift of 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient.
- Am I patient with myself?
- Do I recognize my challenges and struggles as a pathway to holiness, or do I allow them to drag me into despair?
Love is kind.
- Am I kind to myself?
- Do I allow my body and my spirit to rest when it is needed? Or do I push through, expecting too much of myself?
Love is not jealous.
- Am I humble for the sake of glorifying God? Or do I downplay my talents because I believe I am no good?
- Do I compare myself to others? Or do I keep my focus on the path God has set for me?
Love is not pompous.
- Do I accept offers of help when I need it? Or do I struggle with misplaced pride?
Love is not inflated.
- Do I appreciate myself as the person God has made? Or do I look at myself through overly critical eyes?
Love is not rude.
- Do I engage in negative self-talk?
- Am I hard on myself, emotionally, physically, and spiritually?
Love does not seek its own interests.
- Am I involved in uplifting activities that help me see myself as a child of God? Or do I continue to take part in situations that lead to further despair?
Love is not quick-tempered.
- How often do I fall into self-pity? How often am I overly hard on myself?
Love does not brood over injury.
- What past mistakes am I still holding onto? If I have been to confession, am I able to let go of the guilt?
Love does not rejoice over wrongdoing.
- Do I feel strangely vindicated when someone points out I have done something wrong? Or do I use the correction as a way to better myself?
Love rejoices in the truth.
- Do I find joy and hope in who I am? In every part of me?
It is so easy to doubt the goodness of God’s creation, to question the goodness of what you see in the mirror.
But our God is an awesome God. He has given you a love letter in 1 Corinthians 13 – a way to measure your worth, renew your self-concept, and feel in your heart the joy of His creation.
Copyright 2021 Ginny Kochis
Image: Pixabay (2011)