When God tells us to love others as ourselves (Le 19:18), there’s an implicit command to love ourselves, to treat ourselves and each other with honor and respect as children of JEHOVAH; the command is empty otherwise.
Unless we love ourselves, how can we love others? And if we don’t love others, how can we love God? (1Jn 4:20)
This isn’t about putting ourselves first (2Ti 3:2); self-focus can be strangely twisted, fearing success, prosperity, blessing, and envying those who find it. It isn’t even about liking ourselves, or thinking we’re better than others; that’s pride.
At it’s root, love is benevolence: desiring the best, for ourselves and others (1Co 10:24), seeking the well-being of all, the harm of none. (Php 2:15) It’s rejoicing in another’s prosperity and grieving in their loss. (Ro 12:15) It’s being aware of others, of what they’re perceiving and valuing, ever seeking to help them become their very best selves. (Php 2:4)
Loving God is loving what He loves, hating what He hates. (Ps 97:10) If God so loves each one of us that He’ll become our sin and die in our place, placing infinite value on every single human soul, we certainly ought to seek each other’s welfare, including our own. (1Jn 4:11) Seeking God, cleaving to JEHOVAH with all our heart and encouraging others to do the same, is the beginning of love (2Jn 1:6); there is no welfare outside Him. (Re 22:15)
Growing in God is growing in benevolence (1Th 3:12), becoming more like Him. (Mt 5:44-45) When I find myself disinterested in the welfare of another, or neglecting my own, Father, remind me of Your heart; Your arms are always open, inviting us all to come, and always will be. (Re 22:17)
One thought on “Love One Another”
What prompted the writing of this was losing my glasses a couple weeks ago. I deliberately chose to go running on the beach without my glass strap, even taking it off after putting it on by habit. I deliberately chose to go into the ocean to wade with my brother, consciously knowing that I didn’t have on the strap. I deliberately went in farther than I thought was safe, thinking I would be able to handle any waves that surged.
Then the largest wave I have ever seen on this beach came out of no where and snatched my glasses from me.
I prayed and searched and grabbed around on the ocean floor for as long as I could bear, losing hope with every passing second. I was even sure I brushed up against them a time or two, but I couldn’t retrieve them.
Me, without my glasses, I’m basically handicapped. I can’t work efficiently, I can’t drive, I can’t navigate around airports or subways when I am traveling. My life comes to a halt, basically.
It was two days before my next international travel, and not going was not an option. Thankfully, I found an old pair I can get by with until I can get back to the US and order me a new pair.
Lesson here? Certainly. If I were loving myself I would have considered the benefit / risk ratio of not wearing that glass strap, of going into the water, of going out waste deep – of hoping I could manage nature. I believe I was actually being a bit passive aggressive there, against myself.
It is strange how we self-sabotage, how we fear success, and how tempted we are to envy those who don’t. Discovering this in myself and starting to correct it is priceless, well worth the cost of a pair of glasses and some minor eye strain for a couple of weeks.
This trial seems to have turned out well, in the end. Thank you Father.