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Can you love ALL of you?

In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus is answering a question about what the greatest commandment is. He's clear, love God with everything you have (heart, soul, mind, and strength), the absolute totality of who you are. He follows this up with saying the second one is very similar. It has to do with how you love others. He says, "You shall love your neighbor as you do yourself" (AMPC). This can be very good. I'm self-protective, I should protect others too. I [try to] feed myself well, I should help feed others too. I honor my boundaries, I should honor others boundaries too.

But what if I only spew self-hatred toward myself? What if I don't care for me well? What if I don't prioritize boundaries for my safety and well being. What if I speak words of negativity, death, & condemnation toward myself? Then mark my words, it'll likely spill out over onto others. We see this with very judgmental finger pointers when they accuse and harass people. I often think to myself, "Let it go. Can you imagine how hard they are on themselves if that is what is spilling out?".

I see God telling me here self love is good. I want to be clear, not self worship. Self love that recognizes and accepts faults. Because you have to know where you are before you can know where you are going. If I don't soberly accept my shortcomings, I believe I'll struggle to hear God's gentle voice correcting me back to the right path. So can you do that? Can you love you...warts and all? Even the sinful parts of you? Not to accept the sin and sin more, Paul speaks to that in Romans 6. But to hold a space of acceptance so you can own yourself and your role and seek to do better next time.

Because you know what? God loves ALL of you. My kids make poor decisions sometimes. As their mother, I can see their true intentions are good, but the expression needs a little correction, love, and patience. I don't hate those parts of them. I realize the enmeshment of their shadow side, and the light that they are in the world. In fact, it's tough to know the difference sometimes. Yes, I love them, all of them. Yet I still guide them towards truth and goodness, patiently waiting for them to come to their own good conclusions. Because that's when it sticks! When you take ownership.

That is exactly how God treats us. He's patient, kind, & tolerant as He works it all out in our hearts (Romans 2:4). So, if that is how God treats you, can you act in kind and treat yourself that way? I know it feels radical because we love self-improvement. We love to "work on ourselves". It makes us feel in control, and I love control! But what if I can love me and give total control to God. Let Him change me from the inside out. Here's what I know, outside in doesn't work, I've tried! I think I'll stop trying. Go inward, where God is, and work it out that way, with love. It's more powerful than hate.

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