Activated - - NEWS - By Eve­lyn Sichrovsky

One of my cher­ished child­hood mem­o­ries is of my older sis­ter read­ing my fa­vorite Bible story—the Good Sa­mar­i­tan1—to me from a pic­ture Bible. I’ve never for­got­ten that “my neigh­bor” is not only the per­son who lives next door but also any­one whose path crosses mine.

Yet it was many years be­fore I be­gan to fully grasp what Je­sus meant when He said to “love your neigh­bor as your­self.” I fo­cused so much on the first part of the sen­tence

2 that I some­times for­got it had a sec­ond part at all.

One day, when I was go­ing through a pro­longed pe­riod of dis­cour­age­ment and self-doubt, a close friend who sensed some­thing of my state of mind said: “If you loved your neigh­bor as you ‘love’ your­self, no one would want to be your neigh­bor.” Her words sur­prised me and made me ask my­self an hon­est ques­tion: Do I love my­self? My an­swer was a re­sound­ing no, which prompted an­other ques­tion: Why not? Well, it’s ob­vi­ous! I im­me­di­ately be­gan re­view­ing my lengthy pri­vate list of fail­ures and flaws. But in the midst of my neg­a­tive bar­rage, an un­ex­pected ques­tion came to mind: Does Je­sus want me to love my­self?

The longer I re­flected, the more surely I knew that Je­sus does want me to love my­self. Why? Be­cause I am His child whom He loves and gave His life for. Be­cause I am

3 1. See Luke 10:25–37. 2. Mark 12:31 3. See Eph­e­sians 5:2. 4. See Psalm 139:14 5. See Psalm 139:1. 6. See Zepha­niah 3:17. 7. See Jeremiah 29:11. His cre­ation, formed uniquely and won­der­fully in His im­age. He knows all my faults and flaws, but He also

4 5 cel­e­brates my life, val­ues my qual­i­ties and per­son­al­ity,

6 and sees un­lim­ited po­ten­tial in me. He loves me as I am.

7 It dawned on me that He wants me to see my­self as He does, to ex­change my self-re­crim­i­na­tion and self-crit­i­cism for self-ac­cep­tance and self-care, to—daunt­ing as it sounded—love my­self.

The more I have a healthy love and re­spect for my­self, the more fully and freely I love oth­ers. The self-love of the Bible isn’t an in­flated, nar­cis­sis­tic self-love that fo­cuses on our­selves to the ex­clu­sion of oth­ers. It’s an hon­est, restora­tive self-love and self-re­spect for us as bear­ers of God’s im­age, re­deemed sin­ners, and adopted chil­dren of God. Its re­sults are in­ward con­tent­ment and peace, out­ward kind­ness and gen­eros­ity, and up­ward grat­i­tude and de­vo­tion.

Love for God, love for oth­ers, and love for our­selves, these three bring us whole­ness and true joy.

Eve­lyn Sichrovsky is a con­tent cre­ator for chil­dren’s English ed­u­ca­tional books and ma­te­ri­als. She lives in south­ern Tai­wan.

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