Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ All of Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matt.22:37-40
Good afternoon friends, Today I want to share about loving yourself and loving others as yourself. That can be confusing at times, especially when you are involved in toxic relationships. We will base this topic on the abovementioned scripture.
1. God’s Love for Us
Before we could love ourselves, we need to acknowledge the love of God for us. We need to understand that God loved us first before we could know anything about love, Jo.3:16. God demonstrated His love for the man He created through the death of His dear Son Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world, Rev.13:8. So, the best way we can learn to love ourselves before loving others, it’s by receiving this love from God, being conscious of His never-ending love for us, what He did for us at the cross, and continue to do for us each day; until He calls us back home. We need to learn to see and appreciate the love of God in every part of our lives.
2. Loving God with All Our Hearts
When we acknowledge God’s love for us, it becomes easier to love Him with all our hearts. We come to an understanding; that we do not have to perform or do all sorts of crazy things to earn God’s love. His love is not about works; it about receiving the precious gift which, He; demonstrated at Calvary through the death of His dear Son Jesus.
Loving God comes with understanding who God is, What God loves, and what God hates. We train ourselves to Love what He loves and hates what He hates. Loving God comes with boundaries, which apply to us as we love ourselves and loving others. When we observe God in His Word, we will learn how He treats Himself, How responds to situations, and what can He tolerate, and what are the things that are a big NO to Him, and for us to know what can we allow in our lives, and what else is not allowed in our space. Loving God is all about aligning with His will, His thoughts, plans, and mandate over our lives. Loving God is both demonstrated spiritually and naturally.
3. Loving Ourselves, as God loves us
Now we understand, who God is, the kind of love He has for us, and the kind of the price He paid before from the foundation of the world, just to be reconciled with us. We are at peace with God, we are in harmony with God, and we need to learn to be at peace and in perfect harmony with ourselves. We continue to hate what God hates and love what God loves. For example, God hates idolatry and rebellion; He calls it a sin of witchcraft, 1Sam.15:23. We also must guard ourselves against any form of idolatry towards us and others. Another example, God loves a cheerful giver, 2Cor.9:6-7, so when we give, we will consider our attitudes even when receiving from others, they must be cheerfully and not grudgingly. So, like God, our Father, we also create boundaries around ourselves. We must take diligent care of our space, spiritually and naturally.
Understanding our identity in Christ helps us know what is of Christ and what is not of His, and we can love as He loves us. When we don’t understand the love of God for us, we turn to accept different kinds of abuse from others. We allow others to take us for granted since we don’t recognize that God loves us, and we also fail to love ourselves as He loves us. We do not value ourselves the same way God values us. Our lives become an open gate to all sorts of things that are not of God. We treat ourselves poorly and expect to treat others better, which is impossible. We need to be kind to ourselves first before we can learn to be kind to others.
Loving ourselves is extremely important; remarkable success in life; comes with loving yourself, thinking about yourself as well, and not only about others. As you put others first, also consider your values, your needs, your ambitions, so you can continue to make a difference in others.
4. Loving Others as We Love Ourselves
When we have taken time; to know God and accept this greater love of God that comes through the love of His dear Son Jesus, we can genuinely love ourselves. After we have fixed our parallel relationship with God, knowing the boundaries that come with being the child of God, and passionately loving ourselves as God loves us, we can then love others as we love ourselves.
The amount of time we invest in taking loving care of our spirits, souls, and bodies will fill us with endless love that will spill over to others all around us. The truth is you cannot give what you do not have. You cannot offer the love that is not within you. My advice to us would be to invest in our relationship with God, and God will align our horizontal relationships. He will fill us with abundant love for Him, for us and others.
It’s all about loving God, loving yourself, and loving others.