How can I love my neighbor if I cannot love myself? If I spew words of ugliness, meanness, anger, hurt, and hatred, then I have a heart issue within myself that has nothing to do with my neighbor and everything to do with my own soul. My soul’s in need of resurrection. Maybe we don’t love our own selves so well, and that is a travesty. Given the state of our world, we need all the love, care, and tenderness we can must, but that doesn’t happen if we’re empty.
Something along they way of learning to love ourselves expands our capacity to make room for others. Our hearts are able to love more and without condition when we choose ourselves. This is not an act of selfishness, but an act of volition and grace. Were I to talk to my neighbors the way I sometimes dialogue with myself, I’d quickly have many enemies.
We sabotage the very thing that binds us together. Why do we do that to ourselves? I don’t know, but I know the remedy. Cast aside every fear. See from a new perspective – the one in which we see ourselves and one another as made in the image of God – the imago Dei. When I look at myself with eyes of love then I find acceptance, kindness, grace, and compassion. These are things I must practice with myself so I can practice them with others – my neighbors.
Neighbor, I see you. Neighbor, I hear you. Neighbor, I love you as I choose to love my self. I honor the imago Dei in you because he lives in me too. He’s accepted me without condition and with open arms, and so now I do the same for you and me. Neighbor, I love you. Let’s keep making room one for another.