If I can love myself, I can love my neighbor.
But loving myself is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Oh, I’m not talking about ego problems here. No one has a bigger ego than I do. But “ego” is not love, ego is an imposter, a fake image of the real us. Having to come to my senses, and see the real me for what I am, well….. that’s different.
And what am I?
Now I know I am God’s very special child. I did not always know that. And because I didn’t, I acted like a very unspecial child. I thought of myself in terms of my ego. In other words, I never really knew the real me, until I met Jesus. And since that time, He has been tempering the harshness I am able to bring upon myself with reality.
I say, “I am a contemptuous person. I feel contempt at people, I judge the way they are, and I hold conversations in my mind about what I would say to them if I only had the guts.”
Jesus says, “No, you are not contemptuous. You have the wrong ideas, and you have learned all of your life to judge yourself by your understanding of what good is. You are deceived, Tom, that is what you are. But know that I love you, and am revealing the truth to you, whether you believe it or not.”
To which I answer, “But, Lord, I talk about people as if they are objects sometimes!”
Jesus answers, “Yes, Tom, you do. In time, you will talk about people as I talk about them, with love, and not contempt. But you saw through a glass unclearly all of your life, and now your eyes are opened. Reject the past, and embrace the hope I give you, it is your present and your future.”
Not that I have ever heard Jesus say these things with an audible voice. I am just coming to know His voice. But I’ll tell you a secret I learned. I don’t recognize His voice if too many voices are speaking at once. For me, I want silence when I need to hear Him. It’s the only way I know it’s Him speaking. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to talk with Him, and chew gum at the same time. But for now, I am content with the silence.
He’s teaching me how to love, by teaching me how much He loves me.