“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The second commandment. And now I see the powerful demand of that law. You cannot love anyone unless you love your self. Love must enfold your every relationship, including your enemies.
Love is the great test of genuine church life:
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
A dear sister gave me this wisdom: “If I hate myself or anybody, I am actually hating God.” Self-loathing is really hatred for God.
If you hate your self, you will hate everyone else, especially those who live to love. It’s the way of Christ.
We Shulamites have learned that those who exist in hidden hatred will never be able to fulfill this mutual love. Nor can they be part of the function of the Body of Christ. Hate has no place in God, and that includes hate for self.
We have also experienced amazing mutual love for each other, in His presence of love, through being under the Lordship of Christ. That IS possible, because it is God’s Law of Love and He fulfills it wherever His love is received.
But this second command – to love your self – is personal. Individual.
In praying and obeying to love this poor ME, I am seeing some great breakthroughs, miracles of prayer, a change in the power of inner strength of my spirit. In fact, a stream of love from my neighbor is flowing to me. When I don’t love my self, I end up blocking streams of love from others to ME.
In loving my self, I am able to receive the love of my ‘neighbor’ in kind.
LOVE YOUR SELF, LOVE OTHERS EVEN MORE
My willingness to embrace the second command is the gift of God-Love to me, in a depth that I have perhaps never fully received.
It seems to me that I can give others more love than I give myself, but based on the scripture, that can’t be true. My love for me will increase and not diminish His love for ‘my neighbor.’
It’s true that I have given more compassion to others, than to me. The incredible patience of Christ is blocked for me, by my impatience with my silly self.
God is striking me to the core to let Him love me as much as He does.
His order: love yourself first. I will love or not love others to the degree that I purpose to love my own being. Loving myself opens the heavens, for others but also for me.
Where is there one who is lovable? Who deserves love? Not one. Love must be unconditional or it is not yet love.
THE LAW AND THE DEMANDS
What does this mean?
“The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
First, Love God and second, love others.
All the law and the demands of the prophets are summed up in one word: Love.
Love is the meaning and purpose of God in the universe, for our world and down into every life.
The hidden message of the entire Bible – all the stories, all the characters – is love. There is but one subject, one alone: love.
The Father’s love. Christ’s love. Human love. The entire work of the Holy Spirit is to bring us to love.
We surrender to the Love of God – receiving the love with which to love Him. And we are free to love others unselfishly, including the miracle of pure love for ourselves.
Then God is satisfied and pleased in all His will. You have obeyed His heart’s desire. And He is unhindered to lavish His love on us, His astonishingly generous love.
A love unimaginable is God’s love.
Yet the Father intends that you and I should experience His love, to know and feel and witness His love. And the condition for such a glorious promise, is that we love ourselves and others, unconditionally.
This post is the second part of Martha’s exploration of the second command.