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Love Yourself

7 times in scripture we are told to love our neighbor as yourself

” ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18

Jesus replied, ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” Matthew 19:19

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33

He answered: ” ‘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.’ ” Luke 10:27

The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:9

The last words in a sentence hold the most power, thus the most important message.  7 times scripture impresses us to love yourself.  Let us consider what it is and what it is not.

Contrary to what most people think, the qualities of conceit, self-centeredness and selfishness do not exist in people who love themselves.  To love yourself means you have an accurate image of what God says about you and know who God created you to be.  This truth of being a divine, unique creation frees you from comparing yourself with others.  This freedom amputates the chip off your shoulder.  The appendage of criticism and judgment of others is amputated from your life when you love yourself.

Jesus Christ modeled this truth perfectly. He stated, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  He was free from the criticism and judgments of his most ardent enemies, the Pharisees and Sadducees.  He knew who he was and why he was here.  Their attacks against him could not penetrate the solidity of this truth, his love for himself.

We will only be able to love our neighbors when we love our selves.  But when we love ourselves, life changes dramatically.  We love without seeking anything in return.  We no longer notice when others “do it wrong.”  We will feel compassion for our enemies and those who seek to do us harm because we understand their lack of self love.

Al Ritter in his new book, The 100/0 Principle, expresses the Jesus principle this way:

What is the most effective way to create and sustain great relationships with others? It’s The 100/0 Principle: You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return.

Implementing The 100/0 Principle is not natural for most of us. It takes real commitment to the relationship and a good dose of self-discipline to think, act and give 100 percent.

The 100/0 Principle applies to those people in your life where the relationships are too important to react automatically or judgmentally. Each of us must determine the relationships to which this principle should apply. For most of us, it applies to work associates, customers, suppliers, family and friends.

STEP 1 – Determine what you can do to make the relationship work…then do it. Demonstrate respect and kindness to the other person, whether he/she deserves it or not.

STEP 2 – Do not expect anything in return. Zero, zip, nada.

STEP 3 – Do not allow anything the other person says or does (no matter how annoying!) to affect you. In other words, don’t take the bait.

STEP 4 – Be persistent with your graciousness and kindness. Often we give up too soon, especially when others don’t respond in kind. Remember to expect nothing in return.

At times (usually few), the relationship can remain challenging, even toxic, despite your 100 percent commitment and self-discipline. When this occurs, you need to avoid being the “Knower” and shift to being the “Learner.” Avoid Knower statements/ thoughts like “that won’t work,” “I’m right, you are wrong,” “I know it and you don’t,” “I’ll teach you,” “that’s just the way it is,” “I need to tell you what I know,” etc.

Instead use Learner statements/thoughts like “Let me find out what is going on and try to understand the situation,” “I could be wrong,” “I wonder if there is anything of value here,” “I wonder if…” etc. In other words, as a Learner, be curious!

Principle Paradox

This may strike you as strange, but here’s the paradox: When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for the individuals involved, their teams, their organizations and their families.

When that occurs, the individuals, teams, organization and families experience true breakthrough!

5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  Romans 5:5

14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

1 John 4:10
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Hebrews 4:15
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Pastor Henry Wright furnished us with this list of unloving spirits, who are assigned to undermine our self-esteem and our ability to trust in a loving God. 

TEST YOURSELF FOR THESE SPIRITS: See if you relate to any of these voices who would prevent you from loving yourself.

self-rejection – Says I am the non-person of the family, calls me names, says my opinions and preferences are not important.

self-hatred – Uses my voice to tell me that I hate myself, then my body/soul/spirit connection reacts with infirmities, auto-immune illnesses and diseases of unknown causes.

competition – Says I must always win and manipulate for self-promotion. I cannot defer to others easily, as in Matthew 5,6,7.

self-pride – Causes me to lust for a position, a relationship or material things to complete myself or to maximize my potential..

selfishness – Makes me hypersensitive to whether I am getting my share (i.e. of the love,) when I want it and how I want it.

exalted “I” and “I will” – The Devil suggests that I can do it independently, by myself, in my own strength, with my own talents, gifts and resources (like Lucifer did in Ezekiel 28.)

rebellion – I reject God’s choices for me: i.e. my IQ, appearance, body, parents, race, birthplace, etc.

attention getting – I demand attention from people before they even have a chance to offer their love or at least before they can reject me. I am easy prey for counterfeit love.

excessive talkativeness – Drives me to dominate conversations with my opinions, needs, feelings, knowledge or just chit chat.

insecurity – Sets me up to be easily offended, to over react, to feel devalued and to take things personally.

fabricated self – We prematurely create a niche for ourselves and tend to project ourselves as more qualified than we are.

unworthiness – We fear that we are unworthy of blessing (based on our performance.)

self-deprecation – We torture ourselves by calling ourselves names, cutting ourselves down (as humor,) minimize our strengths and maximize our faults.

self-comparison – Causes me to measure myself negatively in contrast to the progress, blessings, gifts, talents and accomplishments of others.

self-assertion – I am not just asking for what I need; I demand with pressure, control or manipulation.

self-deception – I rationalize that sinful reactions, beliefs and behaviors are OK; I defend them when other try to tell me the truth.

self-questioning – I constantly doubt God’s truth about myself, my perceptions, my abilities and tend to believe that I will choose unwisely.

self-indulgence – I am addicted to ineffective coping mechanisms like overspending, binge eating, kleptomania, drug abuse or therapy that “never seems to take effect!”

self-idolatry – I obsess about my agenda, my needs, my successes and my glory instead of God’s purposes and plans.

perfection – Says that I can only feel good about myself if my performance meets the standards of others, my unreasonably high standards or is perfect (and of course it is not.)

self-accusation – Refuses to acknowledge the progress or growth in my life; identifies me with my past failures and projects my past onto my future.

self-condemnation – “I am” a failure, inadequate, inferior, unattractive, to blame and unlovable.  I believe that I am shameful because I am basically defective.

self-bitterness – I keep a record of my failures, withholding forgiveness from myself,  and resenting myself for being imperfect. 

unforgiveness toward yourself – False humility tells me that it is more holy not to forgive myself and that I should punish myself.

need for approval – I try to earn “unconditional love and acceptance” (oxymoron) by meeting the  supposed expectations of others.

not necessary, not needed – I agree with devaluating condescending lies and conclude that I not valuable and that my contributions are not worthwhile.

self-doubt and unbelief – I disqualify myself, settle for less, believe I am the most unlikely to be chosen and cannot believe that God could love me.

self-denial – I tend to exclude myself, isolate myself and to suffer vs. asking for what I need..

self-absorption – I obsess on analyzing myself, my interests, my needs, figuring out my own way or ruminating about my issues.

self-abuse – I blame myself, drive myself with drugs or unrealistic demands, deny basic needs, volunteer for martyrdom,  victimize myself, am addicted to self-destructive behaviors.

self-pity – I accept the identity of a victim, stuck in past, who is not healed and I insist that I should be pitied rather than believe that I can release my pain to Jesus to heal.

self-sabotage – I “shoot myself in the foot” because I am afraid to receive promotion, compliments or great opportunities. I disqualify myself when I am afraid of succeeding; I push love away for fear of inevitable rejection.

self-annihilation or elimination – I have a plan to kill myself, make suicidal gestures or actually attempt suicide.

If you find that these spirits have implanted lies in your mind, you can pray, repent and renounce your agreements with them. 

Dear Lord Jesus, I recognize that I have been believing the lies of the devil and repent for coming into agreement with him.  In the name of Jesus, I renounce and break all agreements with his lies and command all these unloving spirits to leave me, to go to dry uninhabited places and never come back.  I ask you to fill every empty place in me with your Life and Peace.  I choose to receive God’s truth about me:  Because of what Jesus Christ has done for me on the cross, God sees me as righteous, holy and blameless in His site.  (Ephesians 1:4 and Romans 5:18) 

I agree with God’s truth that I am precious, loveable, totally forgiven, unconditionally loved and accepted, completely apart from my performance.  I choose to receive all the blessings that I have been afraid to receive.  I ask you to restore me to your purposes and plans.  Please “restore all the years that the locusts have eaten.”  Father God, you love me and have promised you will never leave me.  (Romans 8)  Amen

InVision Chaplains