Is it possible to truly love God and not love our neighbor at the same time? Christ calls us to “love one another as I have loved you.” When we harbor negative feelings towards another are we able to love them the way Christ loves us?
If we honestly open our hearts to the implications of these two questions, will we admit the answer is no? How easy is it then to find ourselves completely yoked to Christ in every situation, circumstance, or interaction with another? After all, our human nature is ego driven – most of us suffer from IAAM Syndrome – you know the “It’s All About Me” syndrome. Perhaps we exhibit another inherent reflex in our bodies that doctors have never studied or measured. A type of brain reflex that puts up a wall of defense instinctively when someone taps a rubber hammer on our emotions and we feel wronged, justified, unloved, hurt, rejected, abandoned, abused, unappreciated, overlooked, ignored, and especially unloved.
Inspirational author and speaker Byron Katie states, “Defense is the first act of war.” How true is that? Resistance is a definitive action. When a friend, family member, co-worker treats us poorly or confronts us with something we don’t agree with or like to hear, do we get defensive, put up walls, and resist their thinking? Do we automatically feel wronged and either stonewall or defend our place? Or do we listen with an open heart and keep ourselves centered with God, allowing Him to illuminate the truth we need to see or the lesson behind the exchange?
Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” To be poor in Spirit means to understand and know without a doubt that we are hopeless without God. When we are poor in Spirit we want to be ”right with God” and in constant union with Him because we recognize a life separated from His love is a difficult journey.
The only obstacle between us and Heaven is our own selves. May the Lord continue to bless us with daily opportunities to live a life of love separated from our selfish desires and practice loving ourselves and others while tethered to Him.
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