Loving Neighbor as Self?


It's quite possible that the reason it seems that there is so little loving of our neighbors happening is that we don't love ourselves well.

Too often we push our bodies beyond what is reasonable, sacrificing rest and play to fill gaps in our day with stress and guilt. And stress and guilt makes us grumpy or worse. We get resentful when our neighbor takes extra time off or gives us details about a fabulous vacation.

We pace ourselves to run races that are not ours to run. We get so caught up with what someone else is doing that our minds get tangled up in their lives while our own lives get no attention. Instead of making good decisions at home, we want to tell other people what they need to be doing better.

We ungraciously accept our need for respite as weakness or procrastination or apathy. We start to believe the commercials and advertisements in our world that tell us we don't have enough or we have too much. We constantly drive ourselves to compete with our neighbors to buy more stuff - more and bigger, better stuff. But we ought to be listening/paying attention to our personal needs to rest and rejuvenate Being tired all the time is not mental weakness - it's physical fatigue. Procrastination and apathy are also signs that maybe you need a nap.

We ungraciously accept our need for respite i.e. rest, relaxation, rejuvenation. Ungraciously means without the extension of grace. If we don't know how to extend grace to ourselves, how do we know how or when to extend grace to others? Or maybe it's the other way. If we feel we DO extend grace to others, why don't we offer grace to ourselves by taking care of ourselves better?

We are unforgiving of our own imperfections. We are hard on ourselves. Many have said that they are their own worst critic. This goes beyond the humility we need to say that we are wrong or that we make mistakes. An imperfection means that we are not perfect - whatever understanding of perfect we have. And our imperfections don't have to be mistakes. Maybe we take issue with our own body type, intellect or creativity. If we are unforgiving of ourselves, we're probably unforgiving of our neighbors.

How can we love and accept ourselves better so that we can be better neighbors?


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