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"Many times they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me" (Ps 129:2).
Said the lawyer to the teacher:
Which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second (not that you asked) is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Me, and how my bohemian brain rolls: Jesus, You--and only You, see inside the hearts of men. My take on Matthew 22: 35--38 is that You answered two questions that day. The first was asked with a man's mouth. The second was asked within his heart. 'Cause that's how You roll.
We hear this commandment a lot in church . . . "Love God. Love others." But back up the bus, Christ follower.
Go back. Read Jesus' words again. And again. And again.
- Love God with all your heart. Your soul. Your mind.
- Love others as YOURSELF.
Could it be that my capacity to love others is inversely proportional to my ability to love myself after first learning to love God--who first loved me?
Survivors of sexual exploitation, betrayal, and abuse have much to learn about God's love for us. If we are going to experience the effectiveness of His love in our lives, we must first experience His personal impact in our hearts. This is where roots are formed and strengthened. How I see God and myself will always surface in my relationship choices. Always.
No one abuses me today. No one. Not because abusers stopped being abusers, but because I focus on loving God and letting Him love me, first. From there, in accordance with Matthew 22: 35--38, I practice loving myself before I get busy "loving" others.
I take care of myself. I'm willing to say goodbye to people I love if I know they hurt me and have no intention of trying to get better. And God Almighty, how this hurts. But I know the nature of God. And today I know that a loving God does not expect me to stay connected to someone who does not value me. Someone who after having spent time with, leaves me questioning my value in their eyes. True love does not leave you wondering if you are worth while.
Nope. [This] is not the mark of a loving Father. Think of every childhood fantasy you ever had about your weedding day. Have you once envisioned yourself dressed in white with your father instructing, "Baby girl, he's gonna cheat. A lot. He's gonna lie. You'll lose count of the lies. He's never going to love you sacrificially, but he will ask you to give everything you have until there is nothing left of you but an empty shell on the floor crying out to God, wondering why you exist. But give it anyway. Give it all. Die to who God created you to be--in the name of love."
Sounds crazy, right? That's because it is, Pumpkin.
Abused? If you don't know who God is (Love), or how He wants you to be loved--then "check it before you wreck it." 'Cause authentic love is nourishing. Counterfeit love fosters crazy. Can I get an amen?
- Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
- Learn to love yourself. (Within your frame of reference, this is not selfish.) The happily married cherished-church-lady-chick has no idea what you go through each day. She prays for marriage with no frame of reference for how to pray for an abused wife. Let her off the hook. Don't hate her. She's doing the best she can! But you already know, it may not be enough. Ask God for what and whom you need.
Let Love love you away from what love isn't!
You will love Him for this. You will.
Learn to love yourself.
And then others.
It's gutsy, I know. But you're gutsy. Look at all you've survived! Leverage your gutsy for God, yourself--and then others. If you leave yourself out of God's equation, you forfeit His solution. "Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own Mercy" (Jonah 2: 8 NKJV).
I love you with gutsy-God love!
Published on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 @ 12:08 PM CDT