10th July 2020
'The second commandment is this;'
'The second commandment is this; 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'
There is no commandment greater than these.' Mark 12:31
If you could read my thoughts today you would be surprised
how many negative thoughts pass through my brain. Things like:
Not good enough,
Not smart enough,
Not worthy enough
Just not enough.
I've never been a highly confident person,
but I don't have extremely low self esteem either.
I find myself somewhere in between, bouncing between the high and low.
I know what the Bible says about who I am and I know who God thinks I am.
But I still find myself vacillating between what I know and what I feel.
Can you identify with this?
If I'm honest, sometimes what I'm feeling comes out in the way I treat others.
I never wake up and make the conscious decision to treat others the way I feel.
But I often find myself at the end of the day wondering why I said what I said,
reacted the way I reacted, and felt negative feelings towards someone else that I did.
After years of wrestling with this, I've come to understand it's a LOVE issue.
One reason why I think we struggle so much to live out the second greatest commandment
is because honestly, we struggle to love ourselves as we should.
There's a saying; 'Hurt people hurt people.'
We could think of many other ways of expressing this phrase, such as;
'People who struggle to love themselves, struggle to love their neighbours.'
Somehow the message to love ourselves like God loves us has been turned into pride.
People with too much confidence in themselves are deemed arrogant or 'full of themselves'.
Nobody wants that.
And so we run in the opposite direction,
creating this unhealthy consequence in thinking low of ourselves and others.
But this has left us in disobeying the commandment.
Jesus said loving our neighbour was the second greatest commandment,
we need to understand what the first is. It is:
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.' Mark 12:30
Thankfully God doesn't just expect us to understand this.
He provides so much Scripture for us to fill our minds with his love,
in order to live out his commands.
What we receive is what we can give.
God wants to give this never ending love to us daily.
Receiving what we need is the only way we won't 'run dry'
and will be able to pass the love on to others.
Our souls are a complicated place.
One way we can love God with our souls is to seek forgiveness.
The more we receive God's forgiveness,
the more we can offer forgiveness to others.
As we think of ourselves as God thinks of us,
it becomes easier to think of others like God thinks of them.
God does not make anything or anyone unworthy or un-loveable.
If we are struggling with this,
God will help us if we turn to him and ask him.
Each day we get up and get going.
Strength isn't a place of perfection but a place of perseverance.
When we don't give up on God,
it allows us an extra dose of grace
not to give up on ourselves or on others.
The way we view God is so closely entwined with how we view ourselves
that we cannot separate the two.
And the way we view ourselves and the way we treat others
is so intertwined that we cannot separate the two.
So, if it feels hard to love others today,
maybe we need to start by loving ourselves with God's help.
Let us gratefully receive what we need -
so that we can pass on to others what they need.
Then we can live out the second greatest commandment
and watch the world around us change,
one step of love at a time.