The Second Commandment

by Dan Goddard

The second commandment:
Matthew 22:34-40

Jesus said that: “the second greatest commandment; was to love yourself, so that you could then love your neighbor.” He also said that: “The second commandment was similar to the first one concerning how we were to love:  with all your heart, soul, and mind.”
** When we don’t love ourselves, we are unable to love others in a healthy way!
** When we don’t love ourselves, we are quick to judge and condemn; both ourselves, and those around us!
**When we judge and condemn people, we feel shame, guilt, and unlovable: and so the vicious circle continues.
** To the extent that I love and respect myself, I will love and respect others!
Scripture tells us, that as Christians, we are not under condemnation for our sin: (Romans 8:1-2)
Scripture tells us that we come into this world infected by sin, but that Father God broke the power of that sin, and condemnation, in an incredible demonstration of love!
(John 3:16-18), (Romans 5:6-8)
Scripture tells us that fear is related to condemnation and punishment: also that fear is the absence of love. Therefore; when we live in condemnation, it is because we fear being punished for some lack or wrong doing in our life; and have closed our hearts to receiving love. (1st John 4:15-18)
**When we condemn and judge others, it is because we want them to be held accountable, and punished for their sin. We desire this; because we have no understanding of true forgiveness and unconditional love!
We live in this cycle of judgment and self hatred for several reasons:
1-We feel condemned in our own hearts.
2-We do not feel loved.
3-We do not believe that we deserve to be loved; therefore we are unable to either receive, or give; unconditional love.
** God is the source of unconditional love!
** God passionately loves me, and to the extent that I embrace His love, I am able to unconditionally love those around me!
** Fear, guilt, and shame are broken in my life, as I allow God to Father me with His unconditional love. I then am empowered to minister His love and blessing to those around me; rather than judge and condemn them! (1st John 4:19)
Question: Why then; knowing that God passionately loves and forgives me; am I unable to love myself, and those around me?
Answer: God’s love is far more than a theology, or doctrine that I believe to be true. The love of our heavenly Father is an actual substance, one that we can feel when we receive it, or that we can give away.
We were created to experience God’s love with our emotions, our hearts, our spirits and our physical body: not simply give an intellectual assent to the doctrine being true!
We communicate love with our spirits, hearts, emotions and touch; not only through our words and our understanding of correct doctrine!
Question: OK! I believe you are right! Why can’t I experience love, and communicate love to others?
Answer: God communicates His love to us, as a Father to his sons and daughters. Our Father communicates His love; personally, and intimately to us.
** God does not relate to us as:
1-A boss to an employee.
2-A master to a servant.
3-An orphanage director to an orphan.
** The image I carry of God in my Heart as a Father, directly affect the way that I relate to Him!
** The lies that I believe about God, deeply affect my ability to experience his love!
The relationships that we have with our biological fathers growing up deeply influence our understanding, and ability to relate to God as a Father. It is primarily our parents who teach us about love and acceptance. It is from our parents that we learn to receive love, andto give love in return. If I was not loved unconditionally as a child; if I was not told that I was desired, special, beautiful or handsome; if I was not blessed, honored, caressed and embraced; if I was not told that could make it, or that my parents believed in me; if I did not see demonstrations of forgiveness, tenderness and compassion:
Then I was not equipped to receive unconditional love; nor was I equipped to give unconditional love!
Simply put: I was taught either directly, or indirectly; that I was not worthy of love, and could not give love.  For this reason, I came to believe a lie about myself: I am not loved, and I cannot give love!
** When I accept this lie about myself; I shut the door to all who would love me unconditionally; including God. For I am now convinced, that I don’t deserve to be loved; and I reinforce this judgment against myself every time I don’t feel loved.  This also makes it impossible for me to pour out unconditional love through that same door.
Question:  How do I reopen the door to receive, and give love? (Romans 2:1-4)
Answer:
1 – I ask God to forgive me, for shutting out His love.
2 – I repent for closing the door of my heart to other people.
3 – I repent for judging and condemning both myself and others.
4 – I forgive those who did not love me unconditionally.
5 – I forgive myself for self condemnation and closing my heart.
** I cry out for Father God to pour His unconditional love into my wounded heart; filling each empty place where I was not shown love, and empowering me to unconditionally love others from the over flow of His love.
Prayer:
Father, forgive me for shutting you out of my heart, and believing lies about you that caused me to judge you, and so many others around me. I am sorry for acting like an orphaned slave, when I am your dearly loved son/daughter. I open my heart to your love now. Invade my heart with the very substance of who you are:  Love!
Amen!