Love your neighbor as yourself. Much of the emphasis has been placed on the first three words, but what about the last two? Is it even possible to love others as we love ourselves, when our own self-assessment leaves us feeling fractured or inadequate? What kind of love would be shared?
At the EDGE, we watched a very short video clip from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. You can watch it here.
Then I asked everyone to think of something about themselves that they consider to be a flaw- something they do not like. Interestingly enough, still being those wonderful teachers, they went deeper than I expected- physical concerns were not on the list, even with the cue from the video. Instead, they listed- procrastination; overcontrolling; can't handle being "out of the loop"; conceited; lack self-confidence; stuttering; impatient. When asked if they ever felt like they exhibited one of the "flaws" they had not mentioned, every hand went up to say "Yes."
We talked about how we are each made unique, wonderfully and fearfully made. God loves us flaws and all- good days and bad. So we can see our shortcomings but not be dominated by them. Even when we feel pressure from parents or others, when we feel inadequate.
We eventually talked about how when we are working with others, perhaps we should consider that the center of the world is more than just where we are. If we know we have these flaws, and on any given day they are a part of us, is not the same thing true for others? Does this then allow us to see others with grace, as we are shown grace? Next week we will be talking about loving others- the end of our time this week will be the bridge to talking more deeply about how hard it is to love others as God loves them.