Thursday, February 2, 2012

Love Yourself, Too!

Christians seem to have a tough time with this verse. We are told to love our neighbors and we are admonished to forget ourselves, but both the Old Testament and the New Testament remind us to love ourselves as well as our neighbors. The acronym JOY goes thus: Jesus, Others, and You. This is the priority. But you are in there also to be loved, for Jesus loves you.

"The regulating principle, `as thyself,' points to the due estimate of one's own life; such a love for it as would prevent its exposure to evil, and such a discernment of the true interests of life, and the common participation in those interests, as would lead to right adjustment of the relative claims of self and the apparently conflicting claims of others" (Anonymous).

It doesn't lessen our love for ourselves when we wrong ourselves, and it doesn't take very long before we forgive ourselves. We should likewise just as quickly forgive others and love those who have wronged us. Just as we avoid that which hurts us, so in love we should avoid what hurts our neighbors. We seek our good; so we seek our neighbor's good, as well. "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12). Job reminded his friends of the golden rule: "I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief" (Job 16:4,5). Job's friends violated the very laws of friendship by trampling on his integrity and feelings while he was temporarily crushed. "Let your conversation be...seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:6). Instead of encouraging his faith and patience with the salt of support, they poured the scalding salt of misunderstanding in his wounds of heart and mind. Job simply wanted his friends to love him as they loved themselves!

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