If we are to live in the flow of love, then we have to, first of all, allow love to flow into ourselves. I think the real message of the 2nd of the Two Great Commandments of Jesus, to love your neighbor as yourself, is this: it’s only to the extent that we can allow God to love us and in turn to love ourselves that we can love others. If we can’t forgive ourselves, be patience with ourselves, embrace all that we are, how could we possibly know how to love another or, more importantly, allow God to love us?
I am not talking about ego-gratification or selfishness. I am taking about self-love, a whole different category of attention. Selfishness never takes the focus off me, but love allows me to be totally with another, to forgive what they’ve done, allows me to walk the extra mile with them or to turn the other cheek, because I am filled with love, not with myself.
There is a price to be paid when we allow God’s love in: we must begin to let go of whatever bothers us. It is a process. We let a little of God’s love in, and we relax a bit about our own needs. Then we allow a bit more of God’s love in, and we relax more as we see how we begin to think differently about things. Then we can begin to give up our primary focus on our own needs and way of thinking only because we are learning at a deep level that God loves us and will always fill our needs. As we continue this process, allowing God’s love for us in, we begin to trust that God will always meet our needs, that he will always love us. The goal is to feel God’s love in every cell of our body, our mind, our hearts, our souls and to totally trust God. This may take a lifetime, but it is well worth the effort.
As we relax and allow God to love us, we are emptying ourselves of the worry about our needs being met—we are turning those over to God. As we empty ourselves, then we can truly turn our attention onto another person, see them for who they are, see our commonality, see where and how they need to be forgiven and how to love them. Love embraces everyone, flows freely and indiscriminately. When we have allowed enough love to flow into ourselves, then it will flow freely and indiscriminately right out again into another.
Love is the key to entering the kingdom of God. The kingdom is not a place; it’s a state of mind, a resting in the love of God. The more we rest there, the more we live in the kingdom and bring it wherever we go. The Two Great Commandments of Jesus said to love God and to love your neighbor and yourself. Everything else that Jesus taught flows out of loving and being loved.
Things to ponder over the week: Do you believe God loves you? Have you allowed God to love you? When do you plan to allow God in? How about right now?