Wednesday, September 21, 2016

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR



When we are afraid, our instinct is to look away, 
blame someone or something else, 
say it isn't our fault. 
Breathe.
See.
Pause.
These are very hard things to do in the face of fear.

And there is so much fear in America right now.


It feels too simple to me to say that we are dealing with racism and stop there.  
We ARE dealing with racism. 
Please don't misinterpret my intentions or simplify what I'm trying to say before I say it.

It seems to me that we are dealing with something more than racism.
Something wicked and sneaky and banal in it's evil. 

It seems to me that we are walking around trying to numb ourselves from so much....
we're not just denying that 
black lives matter or
 that gay lives matter or
that blue lives matter or 
that unborn lives matter.  

I'm worried that our underlying belief is that NO LIFE matters.
I'm worried that we're afraid to admit that to ourselves.
And yet...I wonder how much your own life matters to you.


I know that my life didn't matter that much to me.
And most people would generally consider me a successful contributor to society.
What does that say about how much we love ourselves?
 I FOR SURE did not love myself.
And I didn't think I was supposed to.
That made it easy to use myself up.
That makes it easy to operate from fear.





I have learned that we can love someone else exactly as much as we love ourselves.
Exactly that much.
And not a speck more.


God really gets this.  
I think that is why we get messengers to tell us these simple yet confusing things.



LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.
Not more than yourself.
Not less than yourself.
Exactly as much as you love yourself.

This took me a while to process.
Like...a looooong while.
I spent a lifetime of denying my own value.
I looked for my own happiness through exclusively focusing on other people.
Love to me was done best (and maybe only) through using myself up.
Pain was the path.
Self-care was the cost.

I thought that the amount of love that I felt for my children was limitless.
But as my love for them grew, I realized that what I had thought was limitless before, was minute.
And as my love and care for myself grows...I realize that my capacity for love hasn't been tapped yet.


And here's the craziest part....the more I care for myself, the more love there is to give.
Love is not limitless.
Love is fueled by....LOVE.
And that has to start with taking care of yourself.
You can't do that in fear.
You can't do that with hustle.
Love is not the hamster wheel, the 'right' car, the cool crowd.
Love is listening to the small still voice and then doing the next right thing.
Even if the next right thing is sitting down.
Hugging a friend.
Telling someone no.
Love is understanding that no lives matter.
Until all lives matter.






Here's another thought...as my love for myself grows
so grows my love for my children
and so grows my love for other people's children
and then there goes my love for other people.
I am positive there are still blind spots that I have.
Places where I've still got hard cold judgement instead of compassion.
I found one last week.
This is a lifetime of work.
More than enough.
that's why Mark 12:31 is so important.
There are two things we need to do.
Only two.
Love God with our everything.
Love each other as much as we love ourselves.
When we get through with that, we can worry about the details.

It is much harder to look into our fear, sit down with it and let it teach us about our own darkness. There is so much fear that is choking us right now. 

Friends....what would happen if you sat with your own fear...for a minute (or a day) to acknowledge it? Would the world stop or would we know where to begin?


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