At a chapel meeting for the HCC staff Pam Ferreira, Principal of Equipping@Hatfield, spoke about the challenge of loving your neighbour. Her talk was inspired by the writings of CS Lewis who used the age-old saying ‘the longest way round is the shortest way home’ to explain the journey we embark on when we learn to love well.
Pam expanded on four key steps in ‘the longest way round’ to our desired destination:
Step one: Let God love you
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10 (NIV)
We must posture ourselves in humility and gratefulness to receive God’s unconditional love.
Step two: Love God back
God’s love languages are trust and obey. This requires tender hearts and tough minds.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
John 14:1 (NIV)
“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”
John 14:23 (NIV)
Step three: Love yourself well
We must see ourselves correctly and love ourselves as we are right now – not who we once were or who we would like to become.
‘We make ourselves real by telling the truth.’ – Thomas Merton
When we read about God’s love for us in Psalm 139 we cannot but love ourselves well.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:17-18 (NIV)
Step four: Love your neighbour
When we love ourselves we can also love others.
Jesus replied … ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’
Romans 13:10 (NIV)
Love does no harm to its neighbour …
Matthew 19:18-19 (NIV)
There are no shortcuts on the journey to love – we must know God’s love, risk to love Him back, humbly love our true selves, and be brave in loving one another.
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