It was a crisp, autumn night when Shenandoah found herself in a horrible pit. Fervently she tried to love Trad, but the disconnection between them stifled her efforts.
“God, why can’t I get through to him?!” she shouted. Faintly, yet clearly she heard Him say, “Daughter, when will you love like I said in my Word?”
How many times have you felt like our fictional character Shenandoah? Your efforts seem pointless, futile even. Let’s look closely at what our Heavenly Father said to her. Love like I said in My Word.
What is He referring to there?
“A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:39 WMB
Love, arguably the most powerful yet misunderstood four-letter word, is a decision. A choice. An action. When we decide to love others the way God loves us, it will be without condition. Do you remember the love chapter? That is how we are to love, regardless of how we feel and whether or not others receive it. We have no control over someone’s actions or responses, but we can control ours. Why? Because the Bible says we can. Plus, Christ’s love constrains us. It holds us together and urges us to continue in self-control.
Who is my neighbor?
Someone asked Jesus Christ this same question in the Word. After Jesus replied with the parable of the good Samaritan, He posed the same question back to the man. The gentleman’s response was (and I paraphrase), “The one who showed mercy is his neighbor.”
Reading that parable we see that the Samaritan didn’t show mercy because he knew or was familiar with the man. He extended mercy because of the posture of his heart. God did not withhold mercy from us, therefore we must give mercy to everyone. Because that’s who our neighbors are.
This seems self-explanatory, but it’s not. You might think this is just about physical self-care practices, but it’s more than that. Loving ourselves has everything to do with our obedience to God and our mindsets. If we love Him, we do His will because we are secure in who we are in Him. Our actions of obedience are matters of the heart. I don’t want my children to do what I say just because I said it, but also because they find value in my instructions, and they want to obey. Likewise, that’s what obedience to the Lord should look like.
Loving ourselves is also connected with our mindsets. Take a moment and examine your thought life. What did you discover? If you noticed a lot of negativity, perhaps you need to do a soul detox with Holy Spirit’s guidance. I’ve been there. Anger, animosity, aggravation, and aggression I embraced as a means of self-protection, but where is love and victory in that? That shouldn’t be found in the soul of one who has the the mind of Christ. Yet, as I continue in faith and love, those things are becoming less. Why? Because I made a decision.
Girlfriend, it’s high time you make a decision, too. Decide to love yourself correctly by transforming your mindset and choosing to walk in obedience to the Lord regardless of your opinions or the views of others. Choose to love everyone unconditionally because that’s how God loves you.
Is this easy? Emphatically yes!
You’re as free as you want to be.
Please, love unconditionally, by any means necessary.