This week, many people will be celebrating love. On Valentine’s Day, partners, spouses, friends, and other family members will be celebrating the special relationships in their lives. Some will struggle to get through this day because no one has dropped them a card or sent them flowers. We need to remember during this celebration of love to celebrate our real true love—Jesus Christ. We also must celebrate our other true love—the love we should have for ourselves. Unfortunately, many people struggle with these loves because they do not love Jesus Christ, and they do not love themselves. While I was a student at Fisk University, I carried a book bag, which read—‘I love being black!’ There is nothing wrong with loving how God has made each one of us.
When Jesus reiterated the commandments, he reflected on the second, which is equal to the first: love your neighbor like yourself (Mark 12:31). The more we love Jesus Christ, and accept his love for us—the more we can begin to fall in love with ourselves in a healthy way, and love other people in a healthy way.
Being arrogant and conceited is not self-love. Self-love is expressed in how we appreciate our features, gratefulness for what we have, and a willingness to forgive ourselves when we mess up.
There are some many folks who hate being Black. They do not like their skin color, struggle with their hair, and deny their heritage as an African American. Our disagreement with how God has made us puts us at odds with God’s sovereignty and his lordship over our lives. I love being Black. Some of us remember the baby doll experiment used to support the desegregation of schools: Black children chose to play with a White baby doll over a Black baby doll. Unfortunately, this is still the case. There are still people who measure beauty based on European standards alone. However, the truth is we must be proud to be whatever color God has made us.
As Solomon wrote: Black is beautiful. As Christina Aguilera sung, “You are beautiful in every single way. Words can’t bring you down.” When we appreciate ourselves for who we are, we can love Jesus more, and we can love our neighbors more.
God made us a certain way for a certain purpose.
Being Black or any other color is not a curse, it is a blessing. Just ‘to be’ is a blessing.
As we celebrate the love this week, let us not forgot Jesus—and let us not forget ourselves. Love your neighbor, as you love yourself.