This Jesus guy keeps making my life complicated.

Seriously. Once again I find myself meditating on the idea of what it means to “Love each other as you love yourself.” I realize that “I love me some me” (I don’t know why this holiday never caught on) and that only increases how much I’m to love others. How much does that suck? It’s like the path to wholeness is found by balancing one’s innate love for one’s self (and yes, it isinnate. Our self-love can take a variety of forms, some twisted and some … obvious) by turning that love outward.

Christianity was mean to be a lifestyle, one meant to distinguish us from the world. One of its hallmarks should be a sense of community. I know the word gets tossed around a lot, but when people talk about their church experiences, a lot of it boils down to the sense of community (or lack thereof) that they feel.

Community has to make you feel safe and wanted. If you’re going to talk about Christ and love, if you’re going to hang a sign on the door saying “church”, if you are going to label yourself a “Christian,” then when people encounter you, they better experience the love that should characterize you. It’s easy to love people who love you, who are like you, and who you get along with. Many of our relationships, including and especially our dating ones, tend to be an extension of your Self, your ego – they are like altar’s to ourselves.

It’s harder to love those who have quirks, who are weird, or who aren’t real likeable. It’s a true test to love your enemies. Yet it is here that is the measure of our faith, of who and what we say we’re about. Acceptance is tough. It is difficult to embrace everything as a gift. Actually, I think we confuse acceptance with a lot of things that it doesn’t do. You can’t rejection someone (or an idea) and accept it at the same time. You’d think that would be an obvious thing to state, yet look at how “hate the sin and love the sinner” practically works itself out. Indifference, resignation, or partial/begruding acceptance is not acceptance. It might be “not caring” but that’s not the same as acceptance. Nor is acceptance approval. I think that is a key hang up that people have. That if I “accept” a person or their worldview that’s the same as (tacit) approval of it.

I believe that acceptance begins with a thankful embrace of my Self (not in a “swim in Lake Me” sort of way, but in “recognizing who I am and why I am here” sort of way), my Circumstances, and my Neighbor. Acceptance comes from a place of love, of realizing that we all have purposes and meaning and then living it out.

Told you this Jesus guy was making my life complicated.

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