Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Love Your Neighbor

As I have been thinking about how to handle rejection, I have been felt challenged to stop avoiding the pain and start doing what Jesus taught in Luke 10:27.

"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

"Love the Lord your God." I am not good at loving God. I should be because He is easy to love. He is loving, kind, trustworthy. He does not tear me down. He does not compete with me. He does not reject me. He made me, He knows me, He accepts me. I feel love deep down in the core of who I am, but my actions, the time I spend with Him, my inconsistency in following His commands, my unwillingness to give up my plans and dreams to follow His plan, many of my actions deny my feeling of love. In this I am the problem. Thankfully, He is the answer. And while I find it hard to act out my love of God, it is the second part of that verse that really shakes my world.

"Love your neighbor." Love the people around me. Love my family, love my friends, love the baristas at Starbucks and the kids at my sons' school. I think that in loving my neighbors my actions give the appearance of love that I am not sure I feel deep down. I know how to be kind. I know how to listen and support someone in pain. I know how to serve others and give to others. I even know how to forgive when I have been hurt by someone. I know the right actions to take. Most of the time I actually do feel love for those around me. I love my husband deeply. I love my boys unconditionally. I love being with my friends and sharing their lives.

But there are times in my life, where I am supposed to love someone and I just don't feel it. I have been hurt. I have been rejected. I have been pushed aside. And then the person wants me to let them back in no questions asked. Not even no questions asked but instead without any acknowledgement or understanding that they have rejected me. And I begin to wonder, how many times am I supposed to let them in. How many times do I open myself up for rejection, again. I try to keep my heart detached. I think it is my way of protecting myself. I should be able to protect myself right?

But I look back at what Jesus said and I don't see any words about protecting myself. Love thy neighbor. I am beginning to wonder if my actions are enough? or does my heart have to be in it as well?

The verse says love your neighbor as yourself. If I love my neighbor only with my actions but not my heart, is that how I end up loving myself? Do I see myself only as a compilation of actions and not as a deeply feeling person? But as a deeply feeling person, how can I keep feeling this pain of rejection and not become changed by it?

I am trying to find that place within me that can love others without fear of being hurt. I am finding the more I understand God's love for me, the more I have hope that I will feel His love for others.

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