I have really been thinking about the commandment in the NT to "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 19:19). I posted a quote a few days ago (see below) that started me on this path. I love what it says. I am a person of prayer and have learned the truth of such a statement in my own life. There really is nothing that causes us to love another person more than interceding for or joining them in prayer. When we really pray for another person (friend or enemy) we learn to see them through a different lens. We learn what it means to really love our neighbor...or at least what it means to see them as such. This has been proven over and over in my life.
The other part of this commandment is something we often overlook. It clearly says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." It occurred to me that we focus a lot on the first part...loving our neighbor. We tend to skip right over the as yourself. That has to stop.
One of my favorite professors in seminary, Dr. Chuck Gutenson, called me on this very thing. I would always begin my questions or comments in class with "This might be stupid, but...". In the middle of class one day, he completely called me out. "Julie, you have to stop. You have got to get rid of this "preamble" of yours. Self depreciation is not a kingdom value."
"Self depreciation is not a kingdom value."
He was/is right. It is not of God for us to put ourselves down. That is like calling God a liar. We were created "in his image" (see Genesis 1:27). If we are going to love each other, we have to start with ourselves. The "as ourselves" is an important part of that commandment we know so well. Let's start living it now...