Facebook can be great! The writing below is one of many wonderful writings that I have been privileged to read and enjoy, thanks to Facebook and a very dear old family friend, Ken Green, who is a minister of the Gospel in Nashville, Tennessee. (Submitted with author permission by Sherry Amick)
To slightly alter and critically sabotage the famous lines of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I ask: How do I love me? Let me count the ways. It is a serious question. After all, our Lord declares that the commandment of God, second only to the love we owe Him, is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:36-40).
Self-love is worldly, carnal and sinful if it is a love focused solely on oneself (2 Tim. 3:2). Some say the Lord’s words imply another command, namely, to properly love one’s self. Others insist that this is a given, not a command. Regardless, we do love ourselves although we sometimes have strange ways of showing it. “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it…” (Eph. 5:29).
We humans, like Browning, long to tell of our love in verse and song. But, when all is said and sung, the one we most deeply love is “me.” The thought may offend you, but I venture that deep down we all know it’s true. This doesn’t mean that we love “you” less, but we love “me” more. We love “me” much more than we wish to admit to “myself” or anyone else.
The question is: how do I love me? Let us count at least some of the ways:
Because I love me, I see myself as a good person. I know I don’t always do the right thing. I know that I sometimes hurt other people with my words and actions. But it is not my desire to hurt them. I feel badly when this happens. So when I cause others pain, you know what I do? I always forgive me! I don’t know how I could possibly live with myself if I didn’t do this. So, you can see that I am a good, very forgiving person.
Because I love me, I want to be a better person. I take pride in a few things I can do well. And, I want to improve myself so I’ll do even better. I take time to do things that I don’t relish doing because I want to be a better person, or at least hold my own. I discipline myself so I will become better in the ways I want to become better.
Because I love me, I think I’m right about almost everything. When someone tells me I am wrong, I have a serious talk with myself. I say, “Me, are you or are you not right?” When I am convinced that I am right, I stick up for me. On rare occasions when I see that I have been wrong, I admit this to me and maybe even some others. Then, I try to be right again.
Because I love me, I don’t gossip about me. I try to show others my best side. I put me in the best light in front of others. And if I do tell others something bad about me, or about some goof-up I’ve made, I only tell those whom I ‘m certain will understand, forgive me, and continue to accept me. With most people I just tell the good stuff because I know they could use the bad things to hurt me.
Because I love me, I provide for my body’s needs. I feed me when I’m hungry. My body needs nourishment if it is to remain alive and well. I give it what it needs including Hersey bars with almonds sometimes. I clothe my body and keep it warm. I try to keep my body clean. I brush my teeth for two minutes each morning and two more each evening. I floss even though I don’t enjoy it. I try to dress pleasingly so I’ll look nice. I exercise even though I don’t enjoy that either. But I do enjoy the Hersey bars.
Because I love me, I seek to expose me to pleasant things and avoid that which is disagreeable. I hate burnt toast and jelly in the peanut butter jar.
Because I love me, I sometimes wonder why other people hurt me so easily. I wonder how they can pass me by without showing compassion and helping me. I wonder how they can go on their merry way and not show any interest in me. I wonder how they can ignore me when I’m reaching out to them. Sometimes when I am in unfamiliar surroundings, people do not even speak to me.
Yes, I love me very much. Should I deny it? And what is so bad about that? I show my love for me every moment and in every action. And as I count the ways in which I love me, I am overwhelmed by Jesus command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”