Love your neighbor as YOURSELF…
As I have walked with the Lord I have always read the verse in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Through the years my perspective of this verse has changed and I have been able to see different angels. I was first able to apply it to my relationships with other people. I would think “love is patient, so be patient with your spouse or friend. Love is kind, so be kind to your co-worker who really annoys you”. For years it was a wonderful verse that facilitated growth in my relationships with other people in my life. Years later God added more seasoning to this passage of scripture and I was shown another perspective. I saw that when the verse said “love is patient, love is kind etc etc….” that God is talking about himself because he IS love. Therefore, God is patient; God is kind etc etc… I thought if God is simply love then truly the only way He is able to see me is through the eyes of patience, kindness and ultimately love. It was a beautiful time of growing deeper in love with Him and understanding the purity in which He sees me and you. Anything opposite to the attributes of love is contrary to His nature.
Recently, I was yet again given another perspective and that is what I want to share. As said before, I applied the famous “love scripture” to my relationships with others and then to my relationship with God but I never once thought to apply this passage of scripture to myself. In Mark 12:31 it says “Love your neighbor as yourself.” By no means am I saying that we must love ourselves first in order to love others because that is contrary to His word. However, I am saying that we shouldn’t leave ourselves out of the equation. God made us to be a beautiful vessel which displays His love and who He is and so it is important to love yourself; it may sound like this:
Love is patient, so be patient with yourself as He is patient with you.
Love is kind, so be kind to yourself as He is kind to you.
Love does not envy, so be happy with yourself as He is happy with you.
Love does not boast, so remember pride comes before a fall. Do not allow yourself to fall into that path of destruction.
Love does not dishonor others, so don’t dishonor yourself. Keep the promises you make to yourself.
Love is not easily angered, so don’t be so quick to become angry with yourself as He is not angry with you.
Love keeps no record of wrong, so stop keeping score of your wrong doings as He does not keep record of your sins.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, so seek truth and embrace freedom in your life as His intent is to set you free.
Love always protects, so guard and protect your heart as He is guarding and protecting you.
Love always trusts, so trust and have faith in yourself that you have what you need from Him.
Love always hopes, so don’t be afraid to hope for the best in your life. Don’t expect the worst as He does not expect the worst in you.
Love always perseveres, so press on and don’t give up as He has not given up on you! Whatever dream or goal you have keep pressing on and finish the race.
Love yourself enough to experience victory as He has already made you victorious.
I have recently begun to apply this to my life greatly. I was driving in my car and I thought, “Gee Christine, why can’t you just get your act together?” As clear as day I heard the Lord say, “But love is kind, so don’t think those things; be kind and love yourself because I love you.” We love because He first loved us and so give (to yourself and to others) as freely as you have received. Be patient with yourself today and then you can be patient with others. If you find it difficult to look in the mirror and love yourself and be kind to yourself then I would encourage you to let God love on you; let Him love on you so much that you will reflect His love. Then you will be able to be kind to yourself and love yourself enough to guard your heart or persevere to your next goal or dream. God is loving and faithful; He believes in you, so agree with God and believe in yourself and most of all love yourself.