Unfortunately, God didn’t really give us the option to opt out of loving our enemies. Throughout scripture, we are met with reminder after reminder that we are to love our enemies. Within these scriptures, we even get a pretty clear picture of how we are supposed to love them.
Love Better: Loving my Neighbors
I was in Wal-Mart one Saturday. Now, let me be completely clear about something–I hate Wal-Mart. There are so many reasons, and I’m not even going to get into them, but I absolutely have to be on a very specific mission if I’m going to subject myself to the torture that is Wal-Mart. I had... Continue Reading →
Love Better: Learning to Love Yourself
Unless you are an English or Marketing major, you probably haven’t put much thought into the ways advertising affects the human psyche. Because I don’t want to go into a massive diatribe on this, I’m going to need you to trust me when I tell you the images we see, the messages our brains and bodies receive from the media, and the way our brains have been trained to think about ourselves has a ginormous impact on how we view ourselves. It isn’t just how we view ourselves physically, either. There are messages we ingested from our parents, our teachers, our pastors, our Sunday School teachers, our coaches, our youth pastors, etc that affect how we think about all aspects of our person–mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Too often, those messages we received, and might still be receiving, are negative. They influence our thought life, our emotions, how we see and treat our bodies, and how we view our mental abilities. If we aren’t careful, those negative thoughts and negative behaviors can seep into our actions, our relationships with friends and family, our relationships with God, and even how we parent our children. We have to do better. We have to love ourselves better.
Love Better: God
I was young, 7 or 8, and it was spring in the Midwest, which meant thunderstorms. They started out as just your normal, garden variety thunderstorms, but soon they produced into the torrential downpour, thunder rolling, bright lightning strikes lighting up the whole room, “should we go to the basement” grade thunderstorms. My bedroom was on the west side of the house, and that meant I got the worst of the storms–all the wind and rain would attack my windows, making me feel like I just might be the next Dorothy, and I didn’t have a Toto. I was convinced Jesus was coming back. And, I can tell you that my feelings weren’t feelings of joy that I was going to get to spend eternity with my savior. No, my feelings were of abject fear of hell because of the theology that had brainwashed me, even at such a young age. Instead of the sheer joy I should have been feeling at the prospect of spending eternity in heaven, these were my thoughts: Have I asked God to forgive all my sins? What if I forgot a sin? Am I past the age of accountability? I’m obviously past the age of accountability because I’m questioning if I’m past the age of accountability. I didn’t get baptized yet. I’m going to hell.