Writer’s block is awful! If you’re an aspiring writer or blogger it’s a rather disheartening experience. You have topics and ideas, books and posts, that you want to write about, things you feel need to be shared with the world and yet, you have no words with which to do so. For me, it’s easy to feel like a failure when this happens, especially when I’m not meeting the deadlines that have been set. For the past few weeks, I’ve been beating myself up because I haven’t written much and I’ve had nothing to post.
It’s easy to be harsh, it’s hard to give grace.
This is something that’s so amazing to me about God. In the Old Testament, a behavior modification plan was handed down to the people, showing all of us how absolutely impossible it is for us to measure up to God’s standards on our own. Then Jesus shows up on the scene and completely changes things! He took that comprehensive list of do’s and don’t’s and instituted 2 rules: love God and love people. Jesus said that those two simple things sum up all the Law and the prophets.
If you perfectly loved someone you wouldn’t lie to them, you surely wouldn’t murder them, you wouldn’t hurt them or their spouse by committing adultery, you wouldn’t steal from them, and you wouldn’t dishonor them with words or actions. Now, this “love everyone” thing sounds really good until you actually have to do it. When someone hurts you or you simply aren’t fond of them, it’s more difficult to love them and yet, this is what we’re still commanded to do.
Before you can love other people, you have to learn to love yourself.
Jesus said, “love your neighbor as you love yourself”. This has always been difficult for me to fully comprehend because I’ve always viewed myself is such a poor light. Yet, God’s love for me and for you isn’t based upon anything we’ve done or are going to do. There’s nothing we can do to make him love us any more or any less. That’s a remarkable thought! When we have a good day we tend to think a little more highly of ourselves, when we have a bad day, we think negatively of ourselves. But it’s not this way with God! This is absolutely incredible!
Loving yourself isn’t easy because you know all the bad things about you. With other people, you don’t know every negative or bad thought they think, so it’s easier to see mostly the good stuff in them. But you’re never rid of yourself and never unsure about your thoughts both good and bad. Yet, God knows exactly what you’re thinking and feeling at all times and he still loves you! If I say to myself “I’m not worthy of love” or “I hate myself”, that’s like a slap in the face to God. That’s as if I’m saying “God, your opinion of me isn’t correct, I know better than you.” This is a sobering thought to me.
I want to encourage you, give grace even when you’d rather not. Everyone needs grace, everyone needs encouragement, even you. Often times we are our own harshest critics, but why? What would you be able to accomplish if you believed in you? What if our world was filled with Christians who believed in themselves and others? I believe if we chose to give grace instead of blame, the world would be a drastically different place.
To go Deeper: Read Err on the Side of Grace, Self-love and Selfishness Aren’t the Same