May 7, 2001
“The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Galatians 5: 14)
© 2001 by Mary Ann L. Diorio, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved. This devotional may not be copied, in whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without the written permission of Dr. Mary Ann Diorio. Copies may, however, be forwarded by email or printed out for personal use. All copies must be forwarded or printed out in their entirety.
Precious Disciple of Jesus Christ, the Daystar,
Do you have a hard time loving people, especially certain people? Do you find yourself getting irritated and impatient? Do you say unkind things and then regret your harsh words? If so, the reason may be that you don’t love yourself.
In our Scripture verse for this week, our Lord commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Most believers have read and heard only the first part of this verse. But the first part depends on the second part. Jesus is commanding us to love our neighbor in the same way that we love ourselves. In other words, He is commanding us to love ourselves first so that we can love our neighbor.
Many of us have grown up with the teaching that it is wrong to love ourselves. We have been taught that to love ourselves is selfish or conceited. But God clearly states otherwise. According to His Word, loving ourselves is the foundation for loving others. Unless we love ourselves, we cannot love others.
Why? Because we cannot give what we do not have. If we do not have love for ourselves, we cannot give love to others.
How, then, can we develop love for ourselves? The only way is to accept God’s love for us. We must believe that God loves us and that we are lovable in His sight.
God is the starting point and ending point of all love because He is love. As we drink of His love and receive it into our souls, we can then love ourselves. We will see ourselves as He sees us. Then, and only then, will we be able to help quench the thirst of others for that same love by pointing them to the One Who first loved us.
Your sister in Christ,
Dr. MaryAnn Diorio
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