If you are like me, you are often your own worst enemy. Luke 10:27 exclaims, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Many folks struggle with the last part of this verse, “loving your neighbor as yourself.” Why? You don’t love or like yourself. How can you care and show compassion to others when you can’t stand who you are or represent? You may lack self-confidence, may be jealous of another, envious of others compared to your perceived capabilities, looks, social status, achievements, etc. Many feel that your sibling is more highly favored and respected than yourself. You may not have met your own expectations. In some cases, you are ashamed of your actions and/or thoughts. Maybe you walk with a chip on your shoulder. If you have gone mental with moment-by-moment difficulties dealing with depression, anxieties, and self-image, you are unable to free yourself to love others. Has someone hurt you and you’re tethered to them because you feel unable to forgive them? You may be bashful and self-conscious. Maybe amends between an individual and you have not been made.
1 John 4:18 declares, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Get rid of relational fear. Love is strangled by fear.
Mark 11:25 is eye-opening, “And whenever you stand praying, f-o-r-g-i-v-e, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Forgiveness is freeing. Never forget that the two root words of “forgiving” and “forgave” in Ephesians 4:32 (“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”) are “char” meaning joy and “charis” meaning grace. This liberates you to “love others as yourself.”
Let’s look at the fifteen characteristics of Jesus’ love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 that Jesus wants you to live out when you rub against each other.
- Love is patient.
- Love is kind.
- Love does not envy.
- Love does not boast.
- Love is not arrogant.
- Love is not rude.
- Love does not insist on its own way.
- Love is irritable.
- Love is not resentful (keep no record of wrongs)
- Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing.
- Love rejoices with the truth.
- Love bears all things.
- Love believes all things.
- Love hopes all things.
- Love endures all things.
You love like this, Jesus will be pleased, and you will be fulfilled. “Love as Christ loved and love your neighbor as yourself.” Joy and grace will be your experience in life.