A wise preacher once remarked, “If you find you can’t do ANYthing else, keep it short.” So in that spirit I’ll offer something that’s been bumping around my mind for the past couple of days:
I’m beginning to be convinced that one of the reasons why our society seems to have what the bible calls “hardness of heart,” is because we have a hard time loving ourselves. Forgiving others seems to be easier than forgiving ourselves…being tender and compassionate with others seems to be easier than giving those small bits of grace to ourselves.
I’ve read in a number of publications and articles that we have a very difficult time loving or even accepting anyone else unless first we are able to accept and love ourselves. So how can we love the “other” if we cannot take delight, joy, wonder, have an appreciation for, and LOVE ourselves? Jesus says that the second great commandment is that we love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31). Pretty hard to do if we can’t first love ourselves.
Take a moment today–right now actually–and think about the many ways (or even ONE WAY) that you are loveable…yes, this might be more difficult than you imagine. Then give a think to the fact that God–THE God, the creator of all that is–knows you through and through and LOVES YOU anyway. You are beloved of God. (want proof?)
It took me WAY to many years to understand this well-known piece of scripture, being so sure it was all about loving our neighbor. Whoa, Christ wants us to love ourselves, too!
(Hate it when there’s a typo and I can’t edit — make that “too many years” — but will try to love myself anyway.)
In Italy, years ago, the law of the people was love. There was every mark of love and compassion, tenderness and joy for a person who loved. Not so here. There is suspicion and outrage, coldness and cruelty. If one who loves is so held up to misprision in human behavior, then how can we love such a derelict as ourselves? It all begins with how we are accepted or not accepted when we love. IF I were to say I will love X forever and pray for their salvation to the Mother of God every day, what would you say? You fool….you’re wasting your time…you are not loved. But in Italy they would say Bello. Ave Maria Grazia plena. Hai un cuore vero.
At my twin brother’s funeral last year I said that my brother did not understand Jesus’ admonition “to love your neighbor as yourself.” My beloved brother thought that Jesus had told him to love your neighbor more! than yourself and that was how he lived his life.