Love your neighbor as yourself
By Kelly Mouisset
January is a month that we usually reflect on the sanctity of human life. That is often pointed towards the unborn, but we often forget about those that we work with, live with and love. Their lives are important as well. God says one of the greatest commandments is to love your neighbor as yourself. But what if you don’t love yourself, what kind of love will you be sending out?
I saw a picture the other day of a woman hugging herself with a caption that said, “Take time to love yourself.” What a powerful image and even more powerful words. I began to think about the kind of love I show myself and others. Do I give all of my love outward? Do I even show love to myself? If I loved my neighbor as myself, would they feel anything at all? Would they feel the moments of self-hatred or hear the words of self-doubt? Would they embody my fear or my anxiety? Would they struggle to accept forgiveness from God or believe they are worthy of His love? Would shame and guilt overwhelm them?
How can we truly love others if we haven’t found a way to love ourselves completely? Truth is we cannot. It will never be complete because there will be a part of us that we feel we cannot share with them.
Maybe this year we can find a new love. A love of ourselves; our whole selves. The good and the bad, the broken, the ones full of shame and the parts full of joy. If we can’t find the love and forgiveness God has for us, it taints the love we give away.
We need to find a way to heal our own hearts and accept the grace and forgiveness God has for us. No one else can do it for us. We cannot love others as we love ourselves if our hearts are not ready to love at all.