As I searched through scripture, I noticed how often it came right back to us. In a quest to love the way God intended, I realized I cannot give what I do not possess. There's a lie that floats around the world, a popular saying: "I love her more than I love myself." or "I am nicer to others than I am to myself." On the surface, those things may appear to be true, but let's dig a bit deeper.
I used to do everything I could to win favor and friendship with people. I'd overlook their slights, try to laugh off their cruelty and share even when I didn't have enough for myself. Then I'd go home and beat up on myself for taking the abuse but run right back to it. Do you think I was loving them more than myself? I wasn't. I was doing us both an injustice. Do you think I was being nicer to them than myself? I wasn't. It's the greatest cruelty to see a friend headed to destruction and smile them along the way. Thus, just because it seems kind and loving and self-sacrificing doesn't make it so. I cannot give love to anyone if I don't have love for myself. I cannot give grace and mercy if I do not first partake for myself. I may try to fake the characteristics, but the Judge of our hearts know the truth.
Start with yourself. Learn how to love you through a close relationship with God. Learn how to forgive yourself, be kind to yourself as you grow into God. Learn how to partake of all God's goodness so that you can give of the same. If you don't first accept it into your own heart and life, all of your preaching and teaching and pretending is in vain because it will not profit you to win the world but lose yourself. You don't have to make that sacrifice. It's already been made.
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