stock_lovingthyneighbor

Pastor Kerri Booth says loving oneself allows for a person to be more physically, emotionally and spiritually available to his or her neighbor.

It’s a new year! The beginning of the new year is a time we often set aside for reflection upon the last year and stating changes we want to make in the coming year. In past years, my often flippant remark to the resolution question has been, “My resolution is to not make any resolutions. Why set myself up for failure?” This year my reply is different.

This year, I resolve to more fully live out two admonitions found in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The first one, found in Matthew 22:39: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I want to love myself. Does loving myself mean I do anything or get anything I want? No. I feel it means loving myself on a whole different level.

It means loving myself enough to accept the grace and forgiveness of my heavenly parent that I may extend grace and forgiveness to my neighbors, whoever or wherever they may be. It means loving myself enough to take care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually so I can be more physically, emotionally and spiritually available to my neighbor. It means asking for help when I need it, that I may be able to extend to my neighbors the help they may need.

The second admonition I want to more fully live out is from Matthew 7:12: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I would like others to be patient with me as I slowly back out of a parking spot or accidentally take my half out of the middle of the grocery aisle.

I will extend the gift of patience with everyone I encounter. After all, is my time really more valuable than anyone else’s?

I really dislike the feeling of being invisible. Therefore, I will strive to acknowledge those I come in contact with with a smile or direct eye contact. I will strive to look at each person through the eyes of Jesus and see their true worth. I will try to convey to each one that they are indeed a person of worth and are loved unconditionally by their creator.

To paraphrase a song that became popular in the early 1970s written by Kurt Kaiser, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around will warm up to its glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love once you’ve experienced it. You spread his love to everyone. You want to pass it on.”

I resolve to be a better “spark” so that more will know of God’s love and, in turn, pass it on.

Kerri Booth, pastor of Community of Christ Church of Liberty, wrote this submission on behalf of Liberty Ministerial Alliance.

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