“Do you remember what you told the kids about falling in love? The wonderful thing about falling in love is that you learn everything about that person . . . And if it is true love then you start to see yourself through their eyes. It brings out the best in you. Its almost as if you’re falling in love with yourself.”
This is such an interesting idea; that loving someone can cause you to love yourself, to see yourself in a new way. The concept can really extend far beyond any kind of human love. Yes, this can happen between friends (A good friend makes you feel better about yourself, don’t they? Just being around that friend makes you feel better, why? Because you are loved and accepted. But it is more than just feeling good; a true friend will give it to you straight. If you want to know if you are off base about something ask a friend, they should be more than willing to tell you if you are wrong in a loving way. A true love often inspires us to be a better person, we want to be who they think we are, we don’t want to let the ones we love down). Yes, this happens between husbands and wives, or it should at any rate. But the ultimate demonstration of this is the love God has for us.
God loves us as we are, but that is only the beginning. He wants us to grow into what we were meant to be. Loving, caring citizens of His Church. He takes us as we are, broken and lost and feeling unloved, rejected, and utterly dead inside, but. He does not leave us there. How could He?
You want the best for the people you love, you can often see that they are not as they should be, are doing something they shouldn’t be doing, or simply can see beyond the current situation they are facing. Would you leave your child in the middle of the street with a car racing around the corner? No, you love them and care for them, and would do everything in your power to get them to safety. You often can see your child as they were meant to be, not necessarily as they are at this moment and you guide them hoping to help them to what they were created for.
God is like that. And when you come to know Christ, really know Him and begin to grow in Him you’ll begin to see yourself through His eyes. You’ll see yourself as loved and adored by the only perfect thing to ever exist. You’ll begin to understand that we were never meant to just exist, to live and die; rather, we were created out of love to love. To love God, to love others (even the unlovely people), and to love ourselves.
I’m not talking about unhealthy love for oneself, full of pride and arrogance, I’m talking about loving ourselves the way we were made to. We are to love ourselves with the understanding that though we are sinners, though we may mess up, we are still worthy of love, still capable of love, we are each worth dying for. But more than that, we are worth living for, we are called to love others more than ourselves and be servants to each other. We all have needs, and God calls us to help each other meet those needs in love.
As Veggie Tales puts it, “Loving means lending a hand.”
Biblical Example: Ruth
Ruth knew how to love, she cared for the people in her life. Even after the death of her husband she cared for his mother. His mother was a widow, and then both her sons died. For all intents and purposes she was alone in the world. She dismissed her two daughter in laws, “And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.” (Ruth 1:8 KJV)
Yet Ruth stayed with her, she left her native country behind, left her family behind, and traveled on with Naomi saying, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God”(Ruth 1:16)
And so they traveled on, and Ruth lived with Naomi, and worked to feed her mother in law, and eventually when she did remarry she gave her first born son to Naomi to raise (Ruth 4:13-16) so that the name of Naomi’s lost ones would live on.
The King James Bible
The New King James Bible
The American Heritage Dictionary
Veggie Tales: Love Your Neighbor
Shall we Dance?
Playing By Heart, 1998