How Can I Love You Without First Loving Myself?

By Chris Hammond

A while ago, I was lying in bed, when I began to have one of those thought processes…

You know, the ones where you think about someone you care about and all the things that they do that you appreciate and all of the emotions that come with gratitude and appreciation? It was one of those moments.

But, oddly enough, the person I saw in my thoughts was… Me. It freaked me out.

I began to think, “God, I don’t want to be arrogant! This is too weird!”

Then Papa’s voice tenderly whispered in the center of my heart, his smile very evident.

“Chris, I love the way that you see and appreciate your friends. I love how you notice little things that others may not notice. But if you can’t learn to see yourself, and love yourself, and appreciate yourself the way that I see you, love you, and appreciate you; any time you love another, it will be short lived.”

good-samaritanHe began to show me that the only way to possibly love every person is through first realizing how loved I am. I must realize that the love of God is so relentless, powerful and inviting… for me personally. Realizing his love for me has helped me to see me the way he does.

I am always with me, so if I hate myself, misery is sure to stay. But if I love myself with the pure love that God has for me, I become my best friend and I am content in every situation.

Living loved is living in heaven. Now.

To live knowing how deeply loved you are is to live in such a way that fear cannot creep in; Love being constantly present in your awareness. “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” God is not counting our trespasses against us. His grace is so sufficient for every need we could ever possibly have. His desire is to give us everything we need and more… simply because of His Love. Love gives. Love always sees the best in others. Love never condemns.

Love simply awakens love.

If I love you without first seeing me and loving me the way God sees me and loves me, my love will diminish, because it has limits. I can only fully love you, unconditionally with no measure, always seeing the face of Christ in you, when I first see the face of Christ in me and agree with His love for me.

To love another, you must first love yourself. “We love because he first loved us.”

It’s written in scripture to “not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment.” I used to be confused about what this meant until Holy Spirit said to me, one day, “To think of yourself more highly than you ought to is only to simply think you are better than anyone else.”

Humility is all about equality. “As He is, so are WE in this world.”

Humility does not say, “I am a worm, but you are amazing.” Or especially not, “I am amazing and you are not!” True humility simply says, “I am so incredibly wonderful… and so are you.. and you.. and you!!”

In Christ, there is no distinction of rank or race or religion. In Christ, there are only brothers and sisters.

It all comes down to Love.

Paul, the Apostle, was writing to the Corinthians and said to them, “When I came to you, I assumed to know nothing among you except Christ crucified.”

I learned that the Greek word for “among” is the same word used interchangeably for “in” as in, “Christ IN you, the hope of glory.”

These Corinthians, when Paul met them, were idol worshipping pagans. They worshipped false gods and were the epitome of what many would call heathens. Paul didn’t see them as such.

Paul assumed to see nothing in them each as individuals but the redeemed image and likeness of God Himself. He didn’t acknowledge their pagan stuff. He didn’t acknowledge their idol worship. He acknowledged Christ in them and something happened. They became awakened to Pure Love Himself… living within each one of them. You empower what you focus on.

It was never a judgmental hammer telling me all the things wrong with my life that ever could have changed me. It was never all of the demands to stop stealing, or lusting, or lying, or cheating, or cursing, etc. that ever could have got me to stop. What changed everything was the unconditional, scandalous, love of God.

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