Quest for Oneness Begins With One

Love is discovered in the most unexpected places.  For me, it was on a marriage retreat.  I can tell that’s going to take some explaining, after all why would discovering love be unexpected while away with my wife?  Because the love I discovered on retreat wasn’t for my wife.  Now I really have some explaining to do.  I knew I loved my wife.  The surprising love I discovered while on this marriage retreat was for me.

It was the next to last day of the weeklong retreat and as I’m prone to do, I rose early, poured a cup of coffee and was enjoying some quiet reading.  The night before, the founder and facilitator of the retreat asked if it had been a good week.  “It’s been great,” I told him.  “Great teaching and time with God, as well as between my Julie and me; great opportunities for us to set some things in order.  It’s been great.”

It was about to go from great to transformational.

While I didn’t hate me, up until that point in my life I never really loved me, either.  There’s a difference between self-hatred and a lack of self-love.  We can not love ourselves, even not like ourselves, and still not hate ourselves.  As I read in solitude that morning, Matthew 22:39 jumped off the page and into my heart as never before:  Love your neighbor as yourself.”

To understand the full impact of these five words we need to understand the context.  In Matthew 22:34-36, the Pharisees test Jesus by asking Him which commandment is the greatest.  Jesus’ reply to this final in a litany of questions confounds and silences the Pharisees.

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’” (Matthew 22:37-40).

The greatest commandment isn’t just to love God but also to love others, but that edict to love others comes with a qualifier, “as yourself.”  The limitation on our ability to keep God’s greatest command to love is how much we love ourselves.  “Love your neighbor as yourself,” means the most I can love anyone is the degree to which I love myself.  Sitting on that couch drinking coffee that morning I realized I did not love myself.  Never had.

This was huge.  I can’t love others if I don’t love me.  As I pondered this truth, it got personal.  This was more than not being able to love the folks next door or the stranger at the grocery store.  It was deeper and more compelling than that.  Not loving me meant I couldn’t love my wife.  Not loving me meant I couldn’t love God.

I was wrecked and started to cry.  Once I started, I couldn’t stop; I wanted to love me and I wanted to love others.  I wanted to love my wife and I wanted to love God.  I cried, “Please, God, help me to love me.”  He answered.

From Abundant and Free; Seeing Life Through the Lens of Grace available on Amazon.

Note: The “retreat” mentioned is Q1: The Quest for Oneness more information available here.

7 thoughts on “Quest for Oneness Begins With One

  1. This is a really interesting take on “loving yourself”, Scott 🙂 I am learning the difference between loving myself and the fact thtat I have been my biggest idol my entire life. There is a huge difference between a Godly love for myself and the self-centered idolizing love I have had for myself. The end result has been a deeper love for my husband and for the Lord. Pretty awesome! Thanks for being in service!

    • Thanks, Christine . . . I agree; it’s kind of a fine line. My experience has been that where I am an idol (pride), it’s actually a reaction to me not liking me so I self-promote. In other words; pride is a reaction to compensate for a lack of agreement with God’s love for us.

  2. Very nice sir. You have an ability of putting things in a way that are very easily understood. Well done. Keep up the good work. It is appreciated. Over

  3. I’m not sure about some things. I think you can love others even if you don’t love yourself. Even if you “hate yourself”. I have depression and most of the time I don’t love myself. I would say way too often I hate myself. That being said, I know I love my family and friends. I don’t think I love them as much as I could (if I did love myself).Far too often I believe the lies about myself rather then Gods truth. I know the Bible is the truth. I don’t know why I have this problem. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I pray all the time that I would love God and others more. But also that I would learn to love myself. I don’t think that I used to have this issue (maybe I did and never realized it) I pray I would love myself

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