Monday, June 25, 2018

Hello there, friends. My, it's been quite some time, hasn't it? I can't say I've fully returned with a boatload of topics and ideas that I plan to post more consistently, but I'm here right now, ready to write a brand new post.

About two weeks ago, I was in Virginia Beach where I got to stand next to my big sister at the altar as she married the man of her dreams. My family and I had arrived a week in advance to help with all the little wedding details that still needed to be done. It was a crazy yet fun week that I got to spend with my sister!

On one of these days, my sister suggested I meet with a woman in the church of whom my sister was staying with. This woman offered a type of therapy that I had never tried before and I accepted in a heartbeat!

The appointment revealed a lot about myself. I learnt how difficult it's been for me lately to love myself. In fact, it's been so difficult not to let myself hate myself.

The conversation of "love" came up at one point with a sister, and she mentioned that if I wanted to truly "love" people, then there was definitely some work to do in which I needed to "love" myself first. She used the scripture Mark 12:31 to explain this, highlighting the "love others as yourself" portion of the scripture.

I went home after this conversation and really started to think about it, but I was having a hard time agreeing with her argument, and decided to study out the scripture for myself.

In Mark 12:29, Jesus is answering a question from one of the teachers of the law: "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

Jesus gives the teacher of the law, not one, but two very important commandments: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" and "Love your neighbor as yourself". One thing people tend to do is add a third commandment to the two that Jesus had already mentioned. A commandment that was secretly hidden within the two. "Love yourself first before you love other people" 

I learnt that, Jesus wasn't sliding in a third commandment in there at all. Just like in Ephesians 5:29, it's just assumed that humans love themselves. In ways, considering that we need to love ourselves first before loving others contradicts scriptures like Philippians 2:3.

Self-love may be biblical, in terms of it being assumed, but it was never commanded, and it was never inserted as a third commandment in Mark 12:31.

My conclusion in my bible study came to this:

My source for loving people should never come from my my ability to "love" myself. In all reality, if I had to love myself first before loving others, I'd never be able to properly "love" people. The "love" I would give off would be so imperfect, selfish and discouraging.

This sister had the right idea when we were talking, though. There was definitely some stuff I needed to work on in order to truly be able to "love" my neighbours. Satan would attack me with these negative and hateful thoughts towards myself and what I needed to learn was not to "love myself" but rather, accept that I am fully known and yet still perfectly loved by God. Knowing this, and truly accepting this is where my ability to truly love my neighbour should come from.

I am a sinner, wretched and imperfect, and in all honesty, there isn't much to love, but Jesus came down, suffered a terrible death, bore our sin on that cross to allow us build a relationship with God and remind us that, despite the sin and wretchedness, God still and always has loved us.

I've begun a new journey of acceptance. I love my God and I've always been so grateful to him for sacrificing his own son for me, but I've never allowed myself to believe that he loved me too, and even more than I could ever love him. I've looked at myself so terribly and believed every lie Satan has thrown at me.

I love the line in the song, "Reckless Love" by Cory Asbury that reads:

There's no wall you won't break down

Lie you won't tear down

Coming after me

I still find it hard to believe that such an amazing and Big God loves me enough to continue pursuing me and continue blessing me. I look around myself, and I see that he's only ever been showering me with his love, and what I want to learn now, and something I pray you learn to do as well, is to accept it. Accept his love humbly, and use his example to truly and wholeheartedly, love those around us.

Thanks for reading, guys :)

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