I read this earlier today, and felt like it was engraved immediately deeply upon my heart. TOTAL. TRUTH. How do I know it is truth? First of all, in mind and heart, it simply feels so. I stopped everything. Read it several times. Pondered the truth of how it felt, and then tears came to my eyes. Then my mind went reeling backwards for evidence, in other things I have read and chosen to believe, and in my own experiences. Let's see where this post takes me.
According to 1 John 4, God is love. God loves us. He wants us to love others. He is in us and we are in Him. If we do not love, we cannot know Him. It would follow that we also cannot know ourselves or others if we do not love. In other chapters of the New Testament we are invited to love our enemies and treat them with kindness even if they do not "deserve" it. Do any of us deserve God's love? No and yes.
If we are to EARN God's love, we never truly can, and in that sense we do not deserve His love. We cannot do enough to earn it. But I am finally learning the lesson of the words I embraced years ago, "you are God's gift to the world" (as is everyone else) and realize as my new mentor Dave Blanchard teaches, that every single person has Intrinsic Worth. Intrinsic means, belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing. Our worth simply exists because God created us and loves us. It's easier to believe when we think of a baby. Most parents understand when a newborn is placed in their arms, that the value of the child, simply is. We simply love him or her, because she is, and she is our creation. She does not need to do anything for us to love her, she just needs to be. We are the same to God. We need not DO anything. We simply ARE His creation and He loves us. So, in that sense, yes, we deserve His love because He deems us worthy of it.
Alternatively, most of us subconsciously feel that if our life is not perfect, or it is less than perfect, or it is really screwed up (our fault or not), that somehow we are completely responsible for it. If we are responsible for it, and even if we are not, we draw a conclusion that there must be something wrong with us. We must not have value. This creates a reason for us to hate ourselves. Blame ourselves. Demonize ourselves. Creat an enemy of ourselves. Where does this idea come from? The big E enemy. The enemy of God. The one who would have us hate ourselves. The one who would discourage us, throw us off course and keep us from our Divine brilliance. Why?
The commandment is, love they neighbor as thyself. How can we begin to love our neighbor if we do not love ourselves? We cannot know God if we do not love (1 John 4:8), and we cannot love our neighbor if we do not love ourselves. So, if we do not love at all, we can never know God. If we do not love ourselves, we cannot possibly truly love our neighbor. Therefore, God's plan is thwarted. If the real Enemy can convince us to hate ourselves, there is a good chance we will never be able to truly know and love God, or truly know and love our neighbor. If we cannot see our own Intrinsic Worth, we also will not see the Intrinsic Worth of others. It becomes so much easier then, to act out against, sin against, and refuse to be His hands in serving others and carrying out His greatest work of love: redemption.
So, finally, when God commands us to love our enemy. If we are our own enemy, and we love ourselves, we have defeated the plan of that other enemy, because we are now open to loving others and bringing about the true work of God. And that, is where my thoughts have taken me.
Note: Why is a "spiritual" post on a success oriented page? Because every area of our being needs to be addressed. And the greatest success comes by accepting ourselves; loving ourselves. Love yourself. Achieve success.