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A few weeks ago I spoke to our Senior students about a challenging concept.
Matthew 22:39 is one of the most quoted parts of the Bible as Jesus tells us to “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
I explained that this verse is so commonly used to challenge you to treat people well, no matter how they might treat you. Someone has a different point of view? Treat them with respect. Someone is mean to you? Show them love in return. It’s a pretty common idea and one they were very familiar with.
However, I challenged them to think about this verse in another way. When Jesus tells us to love our neighbour as ourselves, the key part that often gets overlooked is that we need to love ourselves before we can love others.
How can we respect other people if we don’t respect ourselves first?
We then talked about the dangers of loving yourself so much that you become arrogant and boastful, but it was definitely very difficult for some of our older students to talk about the things they like and value about themselves.
We all go through periods of our life when we don’t see ourselves as valuable. I’ve been there myself.
But it was my wife that taught me early on in our marriage that I had to love and value myself before I could truly love and value others.
As we move closer to Easter and the main time of year to really stop and reflect on what it means to be Christian, I would encourage all of you to remember that you are loved, you are valuable and you were made for a purpose.
And once you truly believe that, you will be able to show that same love to others and find it much easier to fulfill one of Jesus’s commandments.