In learning how to love, I must learn to love myself as Jesus loves me. Mark 12:31 commands us to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
I have some good news and some bad news.
The bad news first. In your greatest moment of glory; at the height of your accomplishment; in your moments of triumph, God doesn’t think as highly of you as you think of yourself. (Romans 3:23)
Now, the good news. In your deepest depression; in the depth of your sadness; in the lowest of your lows, God doesn’t think as lowly of you as you think of yourself. (Jeremiah 31:3)
He can’t love you any more, and He can’t love you any less. The problem arises in how we imagine Jesus distributes His love. Jesus loves me and He loves you equally.
The Gift of a Mirror
As I’m asking God to teach me how to love as He loved, He has given me the gift of a mirror. He’s showing me a picture of myself. And the other day, the picture looked like this.
I was scrolling through Facebook, letting the pictures and posts pass by with the same casual nature I’d have if I were watching TV.
“Aw! Cute baby!”
“Oh! Great wedding dress.”
“Haha! Great meme! Completely accurate.”
The Green-Eyed Monster
And then it hit me! A tinge of jealousy. It was something small. I saw someone had gotten a great opportunity and a tinge of jealousy hit me. I’m usually happy for people when great things happen to them, but in my effort to learn how to love people, God started to show me a more accurate picture of myself. I Corinthians 13:4 says “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy.” Though I would have never placed myself in that verse before, on that day, I had to raise my hand and say guilty as charged. I wasn’t happy for someone else’s success. I know that I can’t change those emotions on my own. Only God can change my heart. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Roadblocks to Loving
One of the major things that prevents us from loving more is our own high and sometimes low estimation of ourselves.
In the height of our accomplishment, we feel as though we’re unshakeable. We see everyone around us, and we think at least I’m not them.
In the depths of our depression, we feel worthless. We see everyone around us, and we think, God couldn’t possibly love me as much as He loves them.
In learning how to love, it is our challenge to learn to see ourselves with Jesus’ eyes.
John 6:5 says “Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?’”
When he saw the crowd, He didn’t see a potential megachurch. He didn’t see profit. He didn’t see a following. He saw needs and he sought out ways to fill them.
When He saw the woman at the well (John 4), He didn’t see a loose woman. He didn’t see a sex object. He saw a woman who was searching – a woman who was looking for belonging.
Jesus loves me and He loves you. With this knowledge, what do you think He sees when He sees you? (Romans 5:8)
(Photo Credit: Super Awesome, Flickr, http://bit.ly/1nQv0iq, License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)