He was saying i would never talk to my neighbor the way I talked to myself, and that somehow I had come to believe it was wrong to kick other people around but it was okay to do it to myself…And so I have come to understand that strength, inner strength, comes from receiving love as much as it comes from giving it. (Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, page 231)
i have a really bad habit of criticizing myself. a lot. and very harshly. i would be embarrassing to let other people know what i can sometimes think of myself.
but this morning, i was reading 1 John 3, and i realized something profound. something that made my heart skip a beat because of the weight of truth it carried. John’s argument, starting in 3:18, is that when we are practicing love, being love like Jesus told us to, we become free of self-hatred and self-criticism. so, if i’m still beating myself up and kicking myself around, that it must mean i am not loving the way i need to be. it would seem that i need to be more deliberate about loving God and loving others.
My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love…For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing our condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. (1 John 3:18, 20-22, The Message)
i know that one thing i want more than anything is to be “bold and free before God.” my self-hatred and self-esteem issues are like an insufferable disease, eating away at my heart and my mind. eventually, it will kill me on the inside. and i don’t want to die. i want to be cured.
and so, every day, i “put on love” because (though it’s a cliché that’s been used too many times) love truly is the answer.