Anyone who has grown up even remotely close to a Christian culture is familiar with the "Golden Rule." We know it in all its variations and applications and I think all of us who know it believe it to be true. However, who is actually practicing it in full?
|Courtesy of "outside of the box sermon illustrations"|
I am under the impression that at least in the Christian culture of the South, we have only been taught to fulfill one end of this two part recommendation for Jesus-living.
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
How many of us actually love ourselves? The quick cerebral answer is "Yes, I love me" but I live in this world and I have seen how you show yourself love.I know it well because I have done the same thing.
We haven't learned to love ourselves from our pastors and elders. We probably haven't learned this from our parents or friends. It is hard to find a follower of Christ who actually believes and models the second part of this rule.
We piously commit our lives to giving as much as we can of our time, money, and talents to our neighbors. In the churches and communities I have lived in I have seen people model loving your neighbor selflessly. But what about you?
|Photo from Kim Prucha- Me refueling on a mission trip.|
If he had to do it, people, so do we! I am beginning to think that we need to revisit this golden rule and try it backwards to forwards: As you love yourself, love your neighbor.
How do you love yourself?
|Me in Iona- I love myself by spending time alone with God in nature|
I like to think of this practice as refueling love. When you are filled up with God's love then it simply pours out of you naturally. It overflows onto people and situations making your life exactly what it should be- a vessel for God's love.
|Yosemite- When you are full of love it pours out of you like this!|
When we are loving out of a fullness of being love then there is no deficiency. Loving your neighbor should not be a drain and doesn't have to be a burden. I believe that if everyone got really good at loving themselves then we'd all be loving our neighbors so well that we wouldn't even have to plan to do it. It is time to practice loving yourself. How can you refuel right now?