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But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture: You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. But if you show prejudice you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as violator. (James 2:8-9 NET)

Effective neighborly love is rooted in healthy self love. Sometimes it’s hard to know what self love looks like. Few of us have active self love practices. I’ve never been very disciplined with self affirmation. I am kind to my body for the most part. My mind, not as much. Like most, I am a self critic. Always trying to tune out that negative chatter from the underworld of my brain. I am beyond five years old, no longer jump into a room with open arms shouting: I am the best.

 

It’s not too late to learn or pick up a new self love practice. Beginning with paying attention to my feelings and needs. Talking to myself like I would to someone I greatly care about. Me first my forever be counterintuitive even though I’ve heard the oxygen mask analogy a hundred times and can’t think of anyone who would shame me for caring for myself.

Love self includes a generous portion of acceptance of who I am and the life I live. Not wishing to have another personality or even attitude, different place of origin and social network or career. Beyond acceptance there is delight in who I am. I am not totally sure what that looks like.

Either way, it does not stop there. Healthy self love flows into practical, life changing love for others. Once I discover the light in me, I will see it in others. We all have light and some of us have gotten good at hiding it. The royal law, the law above all others, makes only one request: LOVE. Love, love, love. And I run, run, run. Fighting the desire to just be left alone whatever that would truly look or feel like.

Prejudice has no room in those who love. Love is for all, regardless. The law opposes preconceived opinions which are not based on reality or actual experience.

Last night I went to church for Lent. We talked about truth and how so often we confuse truth with our reality, something we can measure and have absolute certainty of. But truth is not like that. Truth requires faith and may deeply challenge your reality. So I wonder if I am brave enough to allow truth to disrupt my status quo definition of love? Because the royal law, the thing which matters most, is all about love. Challenge or cliche. Your choice.

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