Comparison is the death of joy.
Hope your summer is going super well and that you’ve found some time to get some vacation and rest in your system. Ours is going really well minus the past few days of rain we’ve had.
I’ve been sitting in the passage of Luke 10:25-37 where Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan to some religious guy who thinks he can trip Jesus up in his answers. Obviously, Jesus puts the guy in his place while at the same time giving us perspective about what it looks like to be a good neighbor. This is what caught my attention though… in Luke 10:27 the religious scholar answers Jesus’ question with what we’ve all heard before, that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This is wrecking me right now as I’m wrestling out what it means to be a good neighbor, husband, brother, son and so on and so on…
Here’s where my thoughts have landed.
If I am honest with you (and myself) ? I know that one of the biggest areas of my life that I need to work on is improving the moments where I visibly see a need in someone’s life and I make an excuse or a judgment call as to why I can’t help them in the direct way that they need. Maybe you feel the same or you’ve been in situations where you’ve made a conscious effort to step OVER situations instead of being a Good Samaritan and helping where you see the need.
This is what I’m figuring out right now, that through all of the ups and downs of my life, the way in which I treat others is directly connected to my self worth. The way that I treat others is actually a mirrored reflection on what I feel on the inside about myself, where I choose to be aware of that or not. So I’ve been thinking on the question, how can you love others well if you can’t love yourself well?
Now I don’t want to go down rabbit trails of spirituality and “becoming the best you.” I get it; that stuff is all about us, that’s the flesh. I’m more so talking about the idea that if I am to love myself I need a revelation from the Father’s heart as to how He sees me as His son. I don’t want to be better or love better just because I speak it into existence. I don’t want to care for others as some strange backwards way to feel better about myself (which it does – there’s no shame in that – I’m just saying, what is the motivation?)
What I really want is for my interactions with others to stem from a place of confidence in who I am in the loving embrace of my creator.
Here’s a few things I’ve come to realize about how it becomes easier to see myself through the lens of heaven and now through my failures or past mistakes….
In a world obsessed with Instagram likes and numbers of zeros on a paycheck, it becomes really easy to compare our lives to those around us. Comparison kills and judging yourself based on the happiness you perceive others have based on a picture will only leave you wanting. If you think having a bigger tv or boat or whatever than the person next door is going to bring you contentment, I’m sorry friends, but you’re wrong.
True hope and love and fulfilment in life are only found when you find your identity in Christ. Listen, the Bible says that you were made in His image. That even before the world was formed, He knew you and loved you and made a way for you to partner with His plan for creation – so why would you finding your self worth in comparing yourself to the world when you should be rejoicing that you are the delight of your Father?!?
He doesn’t compare you to anyone else. He sees you as a unique part of His creation and we find a better way to move forward in loving ourselves and loving others when we see just how special we are to Him.
Loved to Love
The self care and self love that I’m talking about this morning isn’t the type that we see in that of the characters that Jesus tells us about in The Good Samaritan. We don’t see the type of love that you find in your identity in Christ, what we see in them is actually self-righteousness. We see a priest intentionally stepping over a situation that he probably could have easily helped with the all of the resources and connections he had.
It’s a heart issue we see.
He steps over the least of these.
He steps over someone he doesn’t agree with.
He steps over a situation where He could have shown love but just like we do many times in our life, instead of showing that love we find inside of us from the heart of the Father, we self-righteously judge the situations and come up with an excuse as to why its better that we keep our hands clean from the situation.
You know what I love about God?
And do you know what my desperate hope is for the next expression of the local church?
Is that when people who don’t look like a Jesus follower, who don’t sound like we sound, dress how we dress, listen to the same music that we listen to (and the list goes on and on)… when those people show up in our lives we don’t just love them because God first loved us but we love them to the point of getting past our self-righteous presuppositions and seeing them through the lens of heaven.
So I’ll leave you with a few questions:
What do you need to do in order to partner with God to love yourself better?
Maybe you’ve been comparing yourself to others for too long. Maybe you’re caught up in some sort of cycle of un-health. Maybe it an addiction on the internet, maybe it an addiction with eating, maybe its something like our friend Mike went through… maybe you need to start to let go and let God show up in some of those areas.
What are you doing to pour out the love that you have been given?
Like I said right at the beginning of this message, I find that I have a hard time and little patience with people when they come at me with an agenda and don’t come at me in love. You see, I need to recognize that I don’t give love because I get love – I give love because I AM loved by my Father.
So this week may you see yourself as Christ sees you.
May you love yourself well so that in turn you can be a Good Samaritan to those who need in along the roads you travel down this week.
Love you guys.