Cycle of Love
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He (Jesus) said to him, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22: 36-40 (NRSV)
Amorelle Browne is from Grenada. Being a perfectionist, Amorelle can be pretty hard on herself when things don't go just right. Often judgmental, condemning, and merciless thoughts about herself plague her. "Why can't I be the loving person I want to be all the time? Three out of five times just won't do." On one particular day when Amorelle snapped for the third time in a row at an unsuspecting loved one, the condemning thoughts were about to flow. Then a new thought interrupted: "You can't give what you don't have." It was as if God were telling Amorelle that if she could love herself the way God loves her, she would be able to more fully love others.
It had never occurred to Amorelle how much loving others depended on loving herself. And it never occurred to her how much she didn't love herself. It was a time of intense soul-searching. "Does God condemn me? Is God merciless and unforgiving toward me?" No, she decided to suspend all thoughts about herself that didn't match God's thoughts of her. For the first time in a long time, Amorelle had genuine love for herself: forgiveness, grace, hope, peace, joy - and enough to share.
Although, Amorelle continues to mess up at times, now only thoughts of forgiveness flow. She has chosen to keep on loving herself so that she will have an ample supply of God's love to give to others.
We all need to remember just how much God loves each one of us - enough to send His only Son to the cross to pay for our sins that we might have a relationship with Him. Just like the shepherds in the field, we don't have to clean up to come to Him; we just need to come. Come to Him today. confess your sins, accept His love, then accept yourself for who you are - a beloved child of God - then share that love with others.
Prayer: Merciful God, help us to see ourselves and others the way you do - as your children worthy of love, in Jesus' name, amen.