Me? Love myself?

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:9

In the course of our conversation on Sunday (9/4) Suzanne observed that it is very difficult to love your neighbor if you cannot love yourself. Think about it: if you have only loathing for yourself, if you’ve already given up on being lovable, if you are so acutely aware of your own shortcomings to the point that you are afraid of being revealed a complete fraud so that you do nothing and risk little, well . . . it is going to be difficult to love anyone else.

As I’ve considered this during the week (oh yeah, I listen on Sunday and think about what I’ve heard throughout the week) I was put in mind of Moses. Over the last several weeks we heard about how he came to be adopted instead of killed. Amazing. We didn’t read about his murder of an Egyptian, his rejection by his own countrymen, nor about his speech impediment, but we know his story pretty well and remember what kind of a guy he was when called to serve. So it was that two Sundays ago we read about his encounter with God at the burning bush.

God chose this ill-mannered, murdering, rejected, and self-deprecating man with a speech impediment to lead his people from slavery to freedom. If anyone had good reason to be self-loathing rather than self-loving, it was Moses. Somehow he managed to trust God’s love and God’s call (oh, he argued first, but in the end went forward) to overcome his self-loathing long enough to do the work God had given him to do. God in Moses, Moses in God, shows me the way to a healthy self-love that can actually do good—with God’s amazing grace. How about you?

Are you ready to take off your sandals and listen to the love God has for you? Can you move past your self-absorption (and deprecation) long enough to allow God’s love to do amazing things within you and for the benefit of others? I’m counting on your “Yes, I am” answer.

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (now retired) in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

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