Putting on the Oxygen Mask...
Jesus' said, "Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” , which is followed by, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The one directive that so many seem to miss in there is to Love yourself... If we are in fact "children of God," then aren’t we God?, in the same way that droplets of the ocean are still the ocean, or can we at least agree that we possess the same DNA? The Bible is punctuated with phrases such as, "Made in the image and likeness of...", "The kingdom of God is within you," "we are the temple of...", "You are ambassadors...", etc...and they all point to one focus, SELF. If the second commandment after loving God is to love your neighbor as 'yourself,' then isn’t loving God and loving oneself the same? By the same token, isn’t it honoring God to accept yourself?
For years, I struggled with the idea of loving this unconditionally loving and eternal God and yet having to pound myself to the ground for being a "sinner". Getting by in life with "His forgiveness" just didn't seem to make sense and it certainly made it more difficult for me to just stay in the joy of life. Because I am focused on where I am short, what I 'lack' in life. To believe in yourself was egotistical and humanistic which is somehow anti-God (at least that was what was drilled into my psyche). And yet, I could not help but to see that loving yourself, loving one another, and loving all life and creation as one in the same as loving God. I could not help myself from noticing so much contradictions in the way I was practicing my "Faith" as a Christian.
Hate the sin and not the sinner, we say. Judge not lest ye be judged, we say. But it is precisely this dogma that creates a vicious cycle the moment we say we are nothing but a sinner and only by the grace of God are we something. It sounds beautiful, and yet, quite frankly, it is VERY impractical. See, the dogmatic aspect of the Bible, meaning the way people have interpreted and presented it for centuries, forces you to believe in an extremely narrow understanding of God. If religion tells you that there is only ONE way, then that statement is a contradiction to the very essence of who or what God is; which is unconditional love in that "only ONE way" makes it, conditional.
I am no longer interested in arguing what the ultimate "Truth" is. Because the Truth screams itself out from infinite directions. The moment I stopped separating or compartmentalizing material things over spiritual and recognize that ALL things are held together by energy (even to the most miniscule to the infinite) meaning that there is life in ALL things, you cannot help but to see that living life to the fullest of your own unique capacity (or infinite thereof) as part of an unquantifiable ways to the Divine Source. And, even those that hold on to the rigid belief of one and only way to God are one of those infinite ways to the Divine. Whether we struggle our way through life believing in one happy endings or choose to embrace the whole journey along the way with joy and thanksgiving, they are ALL legitimate and deserves no judgement whatsoever. You begin to honor each and every way, style, tempo, and color as part of the grand creation and are left with nothing but respect. The only thing that matters to me is me and MY choices.
I always thought that if my fingerprints are one-of-a-kind on a physical level, then how much more unique am I - in my spirit? Doesn’t that mean that not one soul can dictate how I should live my life, including the God consciousness itself? Why would the Source Creator do that? It is absolute nonsense. To send a life to earth who is as unique as his or her own fingerprints, as an extension of oneself and then tell him or her to do things one way or else an eternal punishment lies in the wait? It is a direct contradiction and gross misunderstanding of who or what God is.
Shouldn't “Live it to the fullest!” is the mantra to life and it is the very voice of the Creator. Make the choices and experience the consequences that leads to more choices and so on. If you truly love yourself, you will naturally evolve to make choices that better serves you, thus humanity, nature, and ultimately the Source in which you represent. You have all that you need to be whoever and whatever you choose to be! Joy, sorrow, pain, pleasure, the vast array of colors of our emotions, are meant to be savored even as we do with exotic cuisine. Life, death, birth, and loss are intended to be embraced just as we do the change of seasons. To love life, to enjoy the ride, and to love SELF is to be our focus.
And when we do, we are that much more focused, capable, inspired, discerning, and equipped to love our neighbors. As...yourself.
"Put on the oxygen mask on yourself, first, before you attempt to help your loved ones".
Truth is everywhere if you open your eyes...