Wednesday, 8 September 2010

As you love yourself


I knew the scriptures well, and I tried my hardest to live by what James calls the 'royal law', but always ended up failing. I knew it was important to God, as it is repeated so many times in the scriptures:


Leviticus 19:18 Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord.

Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which command in the law is the most important?" Jesus answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.' All the law and the writings of the prophets depend on these two commands."

Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered, "The most important command is this: 'Listen, people of Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'The second command is this: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'There are no commands more important than these."

Luke 10:25-28 Then an expert on the law stood up to test Jesus, saying, "Teacher, what must I do to get life forever?" Jesus said, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" The man answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind."Also, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." Jesus said to him, "Your answer is right. Do this and you will live."

Romans 13:9-10 The law says, "You must not be guilty of adultery. You must not murder anyone. You must not steal. You must not want to take your neighbor's things."All these commands and all others are really only one rule: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."Love never hurts a neighbor, so loving is obeying all the law.

James 2:8 This royal law is found in the Scriptures: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."If you obey this law, you are doing right.

Galatians 5:14 The whole law is made complete in this one command: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."
So I tried, (oh how I tried), to love my neighbour. But always ended up missing the mark. Something would happen and instead of  loving my neighbour, I would end up hurting them. I would hold grudges, make an insulting comment, or become impatient with them. This started a cycle of guilt, condemnation, shame and self-loathing. I hated that I could not keep this 'royal law'. I felt that I had failed my neighbours and God.  Every time I gossiped about my friends or criticised a family member, it said how much I thought of myself. 
"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him." ~Leo Aikman
What I didn't realise however, was that I was indeed loving my neighbour as I loved myself. Because I didn't love myself very much, I was loving my neighbour as much as I loved myself ! I didn't understand that I could not love my neighbour anymore than I loved myself. It wasn't until I realised how much He loved me - just as I was, that I could start to love myself, and in turn, was able to love my neighbour as God intended. As I understood that He took my guilt, condemnation and shame on the cross, I was able to love myself. When I understood that He saw me as beautiful, amazing and was proud of me, I was able to look at my neighbours through His eyes and love them as He loved me. 

As I learned to love myself, I was then able to love my neighbour. But this time, I didn't have to try. It was easy. I began to see people through new eyes - through the eyes of His love. No longer was I striving to love my neighbour - it just came naturally. Where before I used to look at myself through the eyes of judgement, now I looked at myself through the eyes of His grace, and in turn I saw others through this same lens.
 God is love. Those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. (1 John 4:16)
It had  a ripple effect in my life. As I learned that He loved me more than anything in this world, right now -just as I am, I was able to love myself. As I loved myself, I was able to love my husband, my sons, my family, my friends and everyone I came in contact with, as He loved me. I could see them through the eyes of God. I could see them through the eyes of His love.

So now I can love my neighbour as I love myself. The key to fulfilling the 'royal law' are four words "as you love yourself". And you can only truly love yourself, when you see yourself through His love. And you can only love your neighbour as you love yourself.

Still taking lessons from the King,



8 comments:

  1. Well said Jo! You have hit the nail on the head: so often we struggle with loving others without realising we are unable to until we have a revelation of what it means to love ourselves!

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  2. Jo,, great post.... I am with you on how hard it is... I deal with that in my own home..let alone my "neighbor" ,,but i figure,, hate the sin, love the sinner.. cause I too am a sinner.. and I would want to be loved aswell..

    thanks for sharing..
    have a blessed day

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  3. Jo,

    I've never thought about it quite like that, but you are so right! I pray that as I learn to look at myself through His eyes, I will see others from His perspective, too. Seeing others through eyes of grace and love we will be fulfilling his greatest commandment.

    Living for Him, Joan

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  4. Jo you have an amazing gift of encouragement!! your ability to Takes gods word, and apply it to every day life is Himspired. Thank you for sharing your heart and your lessons

    Kerrie

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  5. Thank you Jo for a lovely post. It is so wonderful to see people through the eyes of Gods love which in itself says it all, so wonderful!

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  6. Hi there, precious woman,
    It constantly amazes me how I see the work the Lord is doing in you and how it mirrors the truths we are learning from the ministry Be In Health. I just marvel at how the Holy Spirit knows no bounds and ministers Truth in many ways.

    In what we are learning, you are talking about what they call an "unloving spirit" and it manifests in all the ways you mentioned and more.

    Just so lovely to see the Lord's hand in your life and the beautiful job you do expressing it!!

    Love you!

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  7. Great post! It is hard to convince people that a love of self that is rooted in the love of God is healthy and critical. They think of loving yourself as narcissistic. Thank God that He allows us to love ourselves in humility and grace.
    Blessings,
    Chris

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Love,
Jo Princess Warrior xo