It was an off-handed comment, really. She and I were discussing God things, and “love your neighbor” came up. Without thinking I added “as yourself” and I saw a look pass across her face and I knew, so I said it. Looking into her eyes, I said: “you haven’t loved yourself, have you?”. And we both began to cry. Since then I can’t stop thinking about it, those words Jesus said… “love your neighbor as yourself“.
“to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly”
Because what was true for the woman across from me, is true of me. Neither of us has loved ourselves well…I was just better at hiding it.
But we both live in a world that drinks down self-loathing that goes deep into hidden places.
So she and I are not alone but it is my story here on this page and I tell it in the hopes that we can all stop drinking what is killing us. Because God doesn’t let things hide forever, you know. He is light and those hidden things can run but, well, you know the rest. And when what is hidden is hit by light it can take our breath away with this realization…
If I loved my neighbor as I love myself, I would find their every flaw and never let them forget them. I would remind them of them every. single. day.
I would not be kind… to their bodies or their emotions. I would call them names. Not truth names, but lie names. Instead of “beloved, chosen and forgiven”, I would call them “unworthy, messed up, and incapable of going one stinking day without stepping in sin.”
I would make them work harder and harder to try to get it right, and every day I would judge them for getting it wrong.
I would berate them for not being better. I would compare them to others, and they would always come up short. And sometimes I would wish they were someone else.
But now that light has shot into deep places, what was hidden in the dark squirms in discomfort. I can no longer be comfortable telling someone else they are worth loving if I cannot say it to me.
And right there God draws His bottom line in my sand of self-hatred and unworthy thinking. And if I am to step across the line, I must be willing to speak truth to me before I can speak it to you.
I am worth loving because God loves me and He does no unworthy thing.
He is good to me. He is kind to me. He is oh so merciful to me, and gives grace in abundance. He does not finger point but lovingly corrects me. He delights in me, sings over me and surrounds me with Himself. I was forgiven, I am forgiven, I will be forgiven because the blood of Christ leaves a stain sin cannot wipe away. I am called to imitate my gloriously good Father, and live a life of love and that means loving and not hating me. It means calling myself names that are true and not lies, treating me kindly both body and soul, giving me grace when I fail, taking His correction and refusing my condemnation. It means looking past all that I am not and seeing ahead to all that He has destined me to be.
It means I have to stop drinking what is killing me.