Saturday, June 25, 2011

All You Need is Love!

The Bible doesn't seem to talk much about loving yourself.  

But it does talk about love, and it does tell us to "love your neighbor as yourself. "  A lot.  Leviticus 19:18 & 34, Matthew 19:19 & 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14 and James 2:8 are all the places that phrase shows up.

To love my neighbor as myself, I have to first love myself!  I did not realize that until about a year ago.  I always thought I needed to trample myself in an effort to love and serve other people, but that just didn't seem to be working for me.  I had constant guilt issues and felt resentful because I never did the things I needed for myself.  So I am continuing the process that started at that realization, learning to love and tend to myself in order to have a well of mental health to reach into when it is time to serve other people.  In my search for answers about how to love myself, I am taking apart what godly love is and trying to see how to apply each of those parts to myself.

The Greek word for love that appears in all of the above verses containing the phrase "love your neighbor as yourself" is agapao (Strong's #25, if you care!).

1. of persons: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2. of things: to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

So if I think about applying that definition to myself, I should welcome myself, entertain myself (I think this means "be hospitable" - not "go watch a lots of movies"), be fond of myself and love myself dearly.  And for the second part, even though it refers to objects, I think it is fitting to be well pleased and contented with myself!  Jesus didn't seem to have any trouble being pleased with himself or knowing that God was pleased with him, and we are new creations LIKE CHRIST!  We can be happy and content with ourselves even amidst our sins and failures because we are trying our best and we are the righteousness of Christ - we are just as good in God's eyes as Christ is - because of what he did for us.

Jesus' love perfectly reflects God's love.  So we now have concrete examples from Jesus of how to love!  And I really believe that we can and must take those examples and apply them to ourselves, to love and care for ourselves.  

So..... TO BE CONTINUED - with some specific ways we can love ourselves!  

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