As it turns out I've always been a bit perplexed by the greatest commandment. Not the Love God with every fiber of my stinkin' self part but the love the neighbor as myself part. And it's not what you think exactly. I get the love of neighbor, especially those neighbors least like me. What has puzzled me for decades is how to love the other fully when I'm not sure how to love myself fully. Love myself?
And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' "The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (NAS, Mark 12:28-31)
See, that little bit at the end? Doesn't just say love the dickens out of your neighbor, it assumes a self love. But as a woman raised in the American south there have been only about a gazillion messages that tell me all the ways I'm unworthy. After a while a mamma's voice telling you that girls are less, should not want and only give...or that you should set your sights low because women don't need to be more than a wife (or a secretary if the wife thing doesn't work out)...or that the other girls seem to know how to dress and put makeup on correctly...well it gels into a rancid truth like jello made with stagnant water.
But in Christ and in community with other broken and screwed up Christians I've been on path of love in all her shining facets
On this Valentine's Day I'd like to share a confession I found today as I was reading I Am My Body by Elisabeth Moltman-Wendel:
I confess before you,
that I have had no faith in my own possibilities.
That in my thought, word and deed I have shown contempt for
myself and for my ability.
I have not loved myself as much as others,
neither my body nor my looks,
nor my talent nor my way of being.
I have let others direct my life.
I have let myself be scorned and mistreated.
I have trusted the judgment of others more than my own,
and allowed people to be indifferent and malicious to me without”¨objecting.
that I have not developed to the extent of all my capacities,
that I have been too lazy to fight for a just cause,
that I have wounded myself to avoid controversies.
that I have not dared to show how brave I am,
have not dared to be as brave as I really can be.
God, our Father and Creator”¨Jesus,
our Brother and Redeemer,
Spirit, our Mother and Comforter,
forgive my self-contempt,
raise me up,
give me faith in myself and love of myself.
~ Lena Malmgren
Happy Valentine's Day - love yourself as your neighbor.