credit: Michelle Meiklejohn
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " Matthew 22:37 - 38
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14
If you really keep the royal law found in the Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself" you are doing right. James 2:8
The pastor at my church spoke on this briefly last Sunday morning and it's been on my mind at different times this week. This was not the focus of his sermon, but it was something that he felt was being laid on his heart to speak to us so he spent a little time on it before going on to the planned topic that morning.
We need to thank God for ouselves. Sometimes as Christians it's easy for us to be really hard on ourselves when we really don't need to be. We are taught to be humble, and to put others ahead of ourselves and these are principles that are important. But all too often it's taken too far, and we forget that God loves us just as much as He loves everyone else.
To be ungrateful for and unloving toward ourselves is like saying that God did not do a good job when He created us.
God created me to be the person He wanted me to be for this time and place. So as a Christian, as a child of God, saved through Jesus, I am loved. To not love myself is to say that God is making a mistake to love me; that He doesn't know what He's doing.
In the verses above we are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves, but if we do not love ourselves we are incapable of loving our neighbor in the way God wants us to.
I am not talking about a selfish, conceited, everyone look at me kind of attitude. In fact, those attitudes do not come from a truly healthy self love. Those kinds of attitudes come from a deep insecurity that requires constant reassurance from others. And true love for our neighbor is hard, if not impossible, with such insecurity.
Instead, I am talking about an understanding of who I am in Christ, and the fact that he loves me so much that He thought I was worth dying for so that I could be with Him eternally. That, is God-given worth, and if God says I am worth that to Him, who am I to say otherwise. And by accepting that love I am than able to feel secure and kept by Him. This in turn allows me to be able to love my neighbor instead of feeling the need to prove myself to my neighbor.
And as I truly love my neighbor, I share God's love, the love that sets the captive free, brings sight to the blind, and brings salvation.
There is no greater love than this - the love of God.