As I read through the Gospel of Luke last night, I couldn't help but reflect over the 'Golden Rule':
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself."
I have heard it and read it so many times, but it hasn't startled me this way before. And then I realized: Indeed, I have heard it and I have read it, but I have never PROPERLY listened to it or read INTO it.
We are often told to love our neighbors. Love your neighbors--it's the right thing to do. Hell, I've heard it so much that I almost thought the command was "Love the Lord your God with all your heart...and love your neighbors." But this is not the case; Jesus and the writers of Leviticus added a tiny detail that transforms the command completely. Yes, I am supposed to love my neighbors, but I am supposed to love them as I love myself
It's a paradox. I can forgive someone who wrongs me, but, myself? That's a little more difficult. We are our own worst critics. We hold ourselves to standards that perhaps are far out of our reach. I often ponder over this. Do I think I'm superhuman? Do I just dislike myself? Or, worse yet: Do I think I'm better than others? These are questions I still have yet to answer, and I honestly believe it's a life worth of work!
But, now? I'm going easier on myself.
My friends, I urge you all to love your neighbors. But always remember: the way you love them should be the same way you love yourself. Treat yourself with the same kindness and respect you treat others. Forgive yourself the same way you would forgive a friend.
After all: We are a people forgiven.