June 10, 2009

"Making Peace With Ourselves"

As I have done some extensive reading and studying of the Bible and teachings based on it, several central truths about effective Christian living have rung true. One of them is "you can't give something you don't have." This can take many forms, but perhaps none more clearly than love. After all, how can you love someone if you don't truly love yourself?

That question is addressed in this essay by Lincoln Rose at Whosoever magazine.

But here's what I do know: the past year and a half has shown me, in thousands of ways, that living at peace is tied firmly to loving your neighbor. And the Bible teaches that loving your neighbor is tied to loving yourself.

Often in my journey as a Christian, I haven't had it in me to get along. And I felt bad about it. But I've realized, how can one do something they've never really experienced? Examining myself has finally given me a framework for looking at others. But even then, my skills will still fall short. I will have to keep learning, watching, and listening. That's an essential thing I found out this time around. That often, listening yields much more good fruit than asking endless questions.

And as Christians, we are working on following the example set before us by the life of Jesus anyway. And Jesus listened - to everyone. Even the people He knew were out to get Him. Perhaps that's a core component of loving neighbors and living peacefully. Giving a fair ear to people, even when we know (or suspect) that they might not have good intentions. Who knows? God just might be out to surprise us.
Listening can seem like a lost art today; people are usually too busy trying to make their point to listen to anyone else's. As this esssy points out, though, it is still a valuable skill and perhaps one we should use more often.

Click here to read the rest of the essay at Whosoever.org

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