God has poured his love into us and in turn He asks that we spread that same love to others. The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind and soul. And, the second is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. It is interesting to know that God instructed us to love ourselves. Wouldn’t you think that this would be as natural as breathing? But it is not.
You really can’t begin to love anyone if you haven’t first learned to love yourself. We are our worst enemies. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else. We don’t love ourselves enough not to engage in unhealthy and unproductive habits. Many times when we gaze into the mirror what peers back is something we find despicable. Love prevents you from abusing and misusing yourself and others.
People who don’t love themselves have a hard time loving others. We were all created in the same image of God and as I look at myself I also look at you. My mother instructed us to love one another.
Statistics indicate that men who abuse their wives do so more because of the hatred they have for themselves rather than what they have against their wives. Violence on another is actually violence inflicted on oneself.
The love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13 states, If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end…Love never dies.Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit…But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. Everything will fade away, but love continues for all of eternity-simply because God is love.” (TM)
You learn to love others and yourself only when you learn to love God. God saw you in His own image of love doing unto others as you would have them do unto you—loving them as you love yourself.
Father, Bless me to walk in the greatest two commandments—to love you with all my heart, mind and soul, and to love my neighbor as I love myself. I know there is no self-condemnation in those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. Bless me not to be so critical that it affects my ability to love You, others and especially myself. Learning to love You helps me to love myself. When I learn to love You and myself, I become better at loving others. In turn I no longer will do things to hurt myself or others. I pray for You to teach me to love as Jesus loved. Teach me to love those who persecute me, who say all manner of evil against me, who slander my name, who defame my character, in essence teach me to love my foes as I love my friends. Bless me to reflect love because You are love and I am a reflection of You. Amen.