Agreeing With God's Love
It's amazing how much bad behavior devoted horse owners are willing to tolerate from their horses. I have seen cases where an animal is clearly dangerous and disrespectful, and yet the hapless owner makes countless excuses for the beastly behavior, and would walk over coals if it meant keeping it happy and healthy. The old truism that ‘love is blind’ seems particularly apt when describing such horse owners.
When not taken to these extremes, forgiving our horses’ misbehavior is actually a good thing. It sets us free to expect better results in the future. However, I’ve noticed we rarely offer ourselves the same measure of unconditional love and acceptance that we routinely extend to our animals. Our self image and thoughts tend strongly toward the negative. We’re all too aware of our shortcomings and downfalls; while inwardly, we rarely give ourselves credit for our positive qualities
Yet Scriptures teach that God loves each one of us with a fathomless love, warts and all, not because of what we do or do not do, but simply because we are His valuable children, upon whom He has bestowed inherent spiritual gifts. If that is God’s opinion, who am I to disagree? Furthermore, how can I possibly love my neighbor as I love myself, if I don’t truly love myself in the first place? Worse, if the quality of ‘love’ we have for ourselves is distorted and deficient, then even if we do love others ‘as we love’ ourselves – that quality of love is insufficient. If the Godly graces of love, mercy, and forgiveness are to overflow from us into the lives of others, it must first be present in abundance in our own spiritual homes
Since we belong to God, and He promises to judge us – not in relation to our sins and shortcomings – but in accord with His unending love and mercy, then it follows that we have no right to judge ourselves harshly. Furthermore, to do so is extremely self defeating, since positive reinforcement produces more positive behavior, while negative reinforcement increases negative behavior. To a large extent, we are, or become, what we think
Does this mean we make no attempt to improve ourselves? Quite the opposite! The first improvement positive self image creates is a happier, more accepting and positive outlook on life – our own, and others. This is reflected in the way other people view us – and we tend to unconsciously live up to the expectations of those around us. Rather than struggling against a pit of self-loathing, we rise to a higher level of self accepting and fruitful behavior and habits.
(The next sentence is a statement based on Romans 14:4. Speak it out loud to yourself whenever you feel condemned by yourself or others, and see what a different perspective it gives you!)
I am a servant of God. Who am I to judge someone else's servant? To my own master I will stand or fall. And I will stand, for the Lord is able to make me stand!
Condemnation is plentiful, and cheap. The gifts of self love, self acceptance, and self forgiveness are powerful, and priceless. Why not determine to give them to yourself this holiday season?
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; James 2:8 (NKJV)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. I Cor. 4:3-4
God bless us, everyone!