Religion of Saturday, 21 July 2012

Source: Richard Obeng Mensah

Loving Yourself

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves lovers of money, boastful, proud …” – 2Timothy 3:1-2 (NIV).

Every true law is rooted in love. Love is the oldest law in the world. Nevertheless, it is the most lively and precious commodity on earth. Words of love form the foundations of every true home, community, nation and continent. Its language is spoken and understood by all persons in their specific environs. No wonder, all manner of laws are made to ensure its sustenance. Love always lies at the centre of every true law. It is superior to eloquence, prophecy, knowledge, faith, riches and liberality. Love’s most distinctive feature is that it never fails. Besides, it is never self-seeking. Yet there is a need for loving oneself. Loving oneself is the first stage of love. The second and last stages are love for God, and other persons. Thus real love is a three-way traffic. Any love short of this is lifeless. On the other hand, love is complete and alive if it comprises the three stages. Any love that remains only at the first stage only translates into cruel and gruesome hatreds.

Real love is self-transcending. That is why no person can live a satisfying life without having right relationships with right people. It is simply impossible! Without love, the eloquent is reduced to a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal; giving and sacrifices are unprofitable; and prophecy, knowledge and audaciousness are nothing! Even God knows that without real love He is nothing! Love is His most dominant trait and greatest weapon. Satan on the other hand is nothing because he is devoid of love. That is why he is ugly in all sense. Thus any other person devoid of real love is ugly to his or her environment, even if that person is successful in life. Success, even if it is good, is not good enough if it is devoid of real love. One must be significant. Significance is the product of good success that is self-transcending and enveloped in real love. It goes without saying that real love is significant love.

The need to love oneself, and God and others may appear complex. It has been said that educators take simple things and make them complex but communicators take what is complex and make them simple. Jesus is the greatest communicator this world has ever known. He communicated with his audience effectively-direct, simple and precise. Jesus taught love in simple and meaningful ways. For instance, he once taught his followers that all good laws can be categorized into two-love for God and love for one’s neighbour. Thus the best way to obey any good law usually hinges on either loving God or your neighbour or both.

We are to love God with all our mind, might and soul. This means that we must love God more than ourselves. On the other hand, we are obliged to love our neighbours as ourselves. Thus the standard for loving other persons is the same degree we love ourselves. It is said that we are to love our neighbours as ourselves, not more than ourselves; true, but not so with God. We are to love God with our all and even more than we love ourselves. Besides, our love for both God and other persons must be demonstrated at all times-good and bad. The Bible cautions us against diluting our real love in the last days. The last days is marked with terrible (difficult) times. People will therefore be tempted to be lovers of themselves. Today, the global economic crisis for example is crushing the real love of some people. However, the only way to face any crisis is to have real love. Real lovers ride above crisis moments and soar higher even is such times. Crisis moments are their promotion moments; ask Joseph, David and Daniel. Are you a real lover!

Richard Obeng Mensah, author of Persecutions are Promotions. He was the 2009 National Best Student Author/Writer.