Friday, October 13, 2006

Love Others AS Yourself

We can't love anyone else if we can't love ourselves first.

Our relationship with a power greater than ourselves will help us learn to do that.

I saw a movie about a guy in San Francisco that cared for wild parrots a few years ago. These are primarily previous pets that were released by their owners, generally due to frustration with trying to tame the birds. This is a huge problem that concern bird enthusiasts.

Birds in captivity are very high maintenance. If they aren't cared for properly as pets they can develop strange neuroses, such as pulling out their own feathers. This can sometimes be cured if they are brought into a more nurturing environment or set free to socialize with their own kind.

This was not so with a particular female bird that flew with the flock in which the generous caretaker cared for in the movie. In fact, not only did she chew off her own feathers, she chewed off the feathers of any bird that tried to befriend her.

It almost seems that the only way this bird knew how to nurture herself was expressed in the way that she tried to show love to other birds. She didn't know how to show appropriate love to herself, nor could she show appropriate love to her peers.

This bird did not grow up in a nurturing environment that gave it what it needed to be a successful parrot.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love he Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

When I read this as a young kid, I had a Sunday school teacher in church explain this that we are supposed to put others first, others second, and ourselves last.

However, the passage says that we are supposed to love others AS we love ourselves.

So we've got to learn to love ourselves first. How does one do that, and how does one know if one is succeeding in that?

Can you sit in a room by yourself for more than 10 minutes doing absolutely nothing?

Do you find that you lose yourself in relationships with other people?

If you cannot tolerate yourself for a short amount of time, that's probably a good sign that you do not love yourself.

Generally when we love someone we can't tear ourselves away from the other person.

And if you don't love yourself enough to get to know what you like or don't like, then you'll be lost before you get in a relationship.

A relationship in and of itself never cured anyone from being lonely and sad. If it did, it would follow that there would be a lot less lonely and sad people in the world.

How we learn to love ourselves is through a relationship with a power greater than ourselves.

Stay tuned for that.


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