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Sunday, January 31, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Galatians 5

Sometimes it’s hard for me to think back 10 years (before I began preparing for the ministry) and remember what my thoughts were about certain things. That’s because some of my attitudes have changed so much. In fact, some of my attitudes have done a complete about face.

“Such as?” you might wonder.

Such as my view on what many people think of themselves.

You see, before I went into ministry I remember buying to the popular notion that most people thought waaaaaaayyyyy too much of themselves. As a result, they were self-centered and self-absorbed. This was why many people failed to reach out and care for others.

And now?

Well, after getting to know the people who cross my path in deep and profound ways, I think most people actually think waaaaaaayyyyy too little of themselves. When they look in the mirror, many folks fail to see the amazing, talented, beautiful child of God they really are. In other words, they fail to love themselves.

And when they fail to reach out to others, I’ve don’t think it’s always because they don’t care about others. Often they fail to reach out to others because they don’t think they have anything to offer others. A huge piece of my call is to help others along in their journey toward self-acceptance and self-love.

So what compelled me to share this insight?

As I was reading the fifth chapter of Galatians, one sentence jumped out at me more than any other: “For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: love others as you love yourself” (Galatians 5:14 from The Message).

“That summary might work if the reader truly loves him or herself,” I thought, “but what about those instances where that’s not the case? What can of worms might Paul’s words be opening up then?”

Today, I would ask you to spend some time exploring this fundamental question: do you truly love yourself? If you do, then it’s okay to move on to the second half of the equation – the part about extending love to others. If you don’t, however, I would encourage you to stop where you are and start spending some time working on that before you try to reach out to others. It might seem selfish at first to tend to that internal work first, but it isn’t. It will be the work you do around self-love that will eventually empower you to care for others in profound new ways!

Til next time…

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