Love your neighbour as yourself. Matthew 22:39
This verse has been following me for the past couple of weeks. I’ve heard it in church. I saw it quoted in a video shown to me by a friend. It has shown up in books that I am reading. It turned up in a movie I was watching. It was spoken from stage. It is everywhere I turn.
So, like the detailed thinker that I am, I’ve been pondering the ‘why?’ behind the sudden barrage of this particular verse. Most times we hear this verse, it is used in the context of loving our neighbour, and loving everyone we come into contact with. But the more I think about it, I keep coming back to ‘as yourself’. It’s a tough one.
I know that I am not alone in the ‘stinking thinking’ gang. We can truly be our own worst enemies. How many times do we say ‘I was so dumb!’ Or, ‘if only I was….’. You can fill in the blank for that one. How many times do we look back over our day, and wish that we had have done something differently? Look back upon our pasts and kick ourselves for the mistakes we have made? We all do it. For we are all human.
I’ve heard in different talks the concept of having our thoughts recorded and played aloud for everyone to hear. Ouch!! I know that I, personally, would never dream of speaking to anyone the way I’ve spoken to myself sometimes. And yet, even considering it in this context, it seems to be the most difficult thing to change.
Love ourselves? The way that we wish others would love us? The way that we try to love other people? It seems to be so much easier when we bring other people into the equation. For myself, I think it’s an issue of priority. I have always tried to put others before myself. To love everyone around me, putting the needs of others before my own. Sometimes that is a really good thing. A somewhat selfless deed. But many other times, putting others first only procrastinates doing what needs to be done. It can almost be a crutch, for the more we can worry about the issues of the people around us, the less we have to worry about our own.
I can tell you that from personal experience, this does not work. Yes, love one another. Yes, be kind to one another. Yes, do what you can to help one another. But you MUST love yourself first. For, those of us who empty our cups while we are helping others are in essence only hurting ourselves. We must take care of ourselves, or we will be unable to help anyone around us.
In loving ourselves, however, we can lead by example. By taking care of our own issues, we can show others around us how they can do the same thing. In healing ourselves, instead of putting Band-Aids over our inner hurts, we can truly be a light for others to follow.
I have learned that the more I can grow personally, the more able I will be to help many others. I have chosen to heal my own light, so that I can reflect it upon others. So I urge anyone who is reading this….be the light that shines into the darkness of others. Love your neighbour as yourself. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it!!!
Sending a lot of light and huge blessings!