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  • James Pate

Back to basics!

Dear friends, this month I want to go back to basics.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, NIV)

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14, NIV)

I don’t think I can remind you enough that these two verses are at the heart of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The words ‘everything’ and ‘entire’ make it clear.

Two thoughts:

First, if we know how we want people to treat us, we have a foundation to build on. If we are learning to love ourselves, we can also learn to love others.

Second, these verses apply when we are tired, offended or hurt. They apply when someone upsets us. They apply when we have been wronged. They apply when we are angry.

See if you can love yourself today. Love the real you, the self that is probably a mix of wonderful and awful. Be gentle with yourself. Value yourself. See if you can shut out the voice that tells you that you are unworthy. Then see if you can work out what it means to love others in the same way.

These skills may be basic, but that doesn’t mean that they are easy. They are difficult when we are hurt, or when we feel that other people are privileged. They are difficult when, if we are honest, we know we know that we need someone to challenge us. They are difficult when people give us advice that is just too hard to follow.

Perhaps the most basic thing is to realise that you are worthy of love. As believers in Jesus, we know this more than most. Think of the prodigal son (Luke 15) whose ‘I am not worthy’ speech was quickly dismissed.

May you know the love of God today and give it away.

In his grace, James

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