Friday, September 11, 2009

The Quiet Commandment. . .

Matthew 22:36-39 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? (37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Mark 12:28-31 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? (29) And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: (30) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (31) And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Jesus was asked point blank, what is most important and He responds that it's all about love. . .He didn't go into the keeping of the Sabbath. He didn't dwell on holiness. So many things He might have talked about and the legal eagles of the Pharisees knew that each had their weaknesses. They were prepared with counter arguments. . . they were prepared for everything, but this incredible answer of His. Even His questioner had to admit:

Mark 12:32-33
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: (33) And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

They were striving to make Jesus appear foolish and He made a point so strong that they were forced to admit His correctness. . .The two loud and bold commandments are always remembered.

1. Love God
2. Love your fellow man

but there is a third, what I will call, 'the quiet commandment', not talked about, but crucially important. . .the commandment:

3. as thyself.

Within this second commandment of Jesus to love your fellow man, is a quiet, almost unspoken basis of loving another and that is that you first properly love yourself. One of the most destructive elements of all to be found in a person is to not love ourselves. . . love thy neighbor as thyself. . .If you don't love yourself, then you have no starting point from which to love someone else. Your lack of self acceptance and lack of self love becomes a dark and corrosive impediment to loving others.

A lack of self-love will cause one to tear down others in the effort to capture more love.
A lock of self-love will create bitterness and envy at the perceived slights of others.
A lack of self-love will have you measure the actions of others mirrored through the glass of your own unlove.
A lack of self-love will birth impatience and chafing at lack of recognition.
A lack of self-love will lead you into searching for ways to feel good about yourself, through external and usually destructive means.

How do we overcome not loving ourselves?

1. Take your attention off of yourself and focus on first loving God with everything that you have. Through your growing relationship with God, allow the circuit of your love for Him and His love for you build within you and charge yourself up to the point of overflowing. There is no limit to God's love. Take every bit of love He shows you and give it right back to Him. Each cycle of this magnifies and intensifies the current of love. . .Soon you will not be able to contain it within yourself, it must overflow into your relationship with others around you.

2. Forgive yourself. God forgives you. . . now you must forgive yourself. For me this is much harder than forgiving other people. There is nothing I can do about my actions of the past. I cannot take back my words or my misdeeds of long ago. To continue to dwell upon them, is not repentance, but is a tool of the devil to take my eyes off of God and eventually to destroy me. I only need to ask for forgiveness from God once for something, then He forgets it and I too need to move on and to forget it myself.

3. Accept yourself. I find it much easier to accept the weaknesses and shortcoming in other people, than I do in accepting them in myself. Take personal inventory. Ask God to help you to see yourself realistically and then come to accept yourself for who you are. Warts and beauty marks both, are a part of you. There are certain things I am good at and certain things that I am lousy at. Surely I can work to overcome certain of my weaknesses, but to be continually focused upon my shortcomings is to give them the power to paralyze and usurp my strengths.

Strive to come to love yourself. Forgive yourself. . . accept yourself. . .The body of Christ must be a body of love. Unlove in what ever form it takes, is a cancer that spreads and destroys and kills. . . causes pain and disables the body. . . Love God with everything you have. . .Love thy neighbor. . .as thyself. . .

I love you my God. . .
I love you my Lord. . .
Please help me love myself. . .

Dave

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