I remember this song from way back in nursery school and it clearly expresses the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength……..Love your neighbour the same as you love yourself.”
Since today is specially dedicated to love, let’s explore those words a bit. We are called to love. Love is what we must do. Who then must we love? It’s simple really, as quoted above:
I can do a long sermon on love for God, which though is most important, ain’t my focus today, so I’m just gonna get on.
Yes, today is February 14, the special Valentine’s day, and the main theme of this day is LOVE. Over the years, today has been misconstrued to mean ‘lovers’ day’, i.e. a day dedicated to romantic love – only. Well, I disagree! For the most part, the history of Valentine’s day (if what I read is authentic) does not in any way depict romantic love, rather, love for God and fellow human. Again, the command we received is to love the other person (neighbour), whoever he/she might be, not just someone of the opposite sex or ‘a lover’. Today, as you celebrate Val’s day, keep in mind that you ought to express love to your neighbour (family, friends, those around you) and receive love from same. Do not ever let today catch you sulking or pouting about not having a ‘Val’ to celebrate with. Open your eyes and look around you, there are lots of people to love.
I have, at certain moments, wondered why that nursery rhyme ended with “Charity begins at home.” As I pondered, I realised that most times, we only pay attention to the ‘love your neighbour’ aspect and neglect the ‘as yourself’ part. Charity indeed begins at home, meaning, you can’t genuinely love others if you do not love yourself, first. You can’t give love to others when you do not have love for yourself because you can never truly give what you don’t have.
Well, some people have too much love for self such that others don’t matter – I do not refer to that kind of love for self. I do not advocate selfish love that is ONLY after self-interest. I do not endorse narcissism. However, I do not endorse ‘martyr-ism’ either. You should not love others at detriment to yourself. That is a most unhealthy kind of love. It is not pure, it is not true, it is tainted, because again, you can’t truly give what you don’t have.
Think of it this way…if someone asks you for money, which you don’t have but you decide to borrow some for the person, have you really given what you have? No. Now, if this person comes for more, thinking you have, and you keep borrowing to give to the person, tell me, “Who wallows in debt?” You! “Who has sleepless nights calculating debts and planning ways of escape from debts?” You! “Who gets thrown in jail for failure to pay up accumulated debts?” You! “Who loses out at the end of the day?” You! You can’t truly give what you don’t have and you are the one who gets hurt eventually.
You need to love yourself; I urge you to have some love for yourself! Show yourself some respect; throw some dignity on yourself. Value yourself; build up your self-worth/self-esteem. When you love yourself, you won’t struggle for the love of others (by throwing your love at those who don’t appreciate it) and they won’t treat you like trash. God loves you and values you; you must give yourself same treatment.
So today, while showing love to your neighbour, remember to love yourself some. “Love your neighbour as YOURSELF for charity begins at home.”
© 2015 AyotundeElegbeleye
Jesus is LORD!