As believers, we know that Jesus Christ came to be the new covenant. To do away with the old rules of sacrifice and atonement. But many things do not change.
We’ve chatted before about the ten commandments. About respecting our parents. About the Sabbath (and what is worship). About idols and what is one. And yet, here it is again, tucked away within a huge litany of rules and regulations no person could ever come close to following perfectly Three simple expectations which speak volumes.
If you respect your father and mother you learn of God. The expectation (more evident in those times than these) is that you were brought up in His words. You understood, accepted and believed in Him. You learned that He is the ultimate Father, Abba. You set your expectations of yourself and others based on His expectations of you. You learn how to relate with God, and with other people. You learn to respect the intimacy of a relationship. You learn to value yourself.
Valuing yourself allows you to love yourself. Maybe, probably, not love (or even like) everything you think or do, but still to accept and love yourself. You see yourself as the valuable child of God that you are. Then you discover that the more you value God, you value yourself. And the more you value yourself, the more you value others.
God wants us to emulate His love for us by loving others. No human person is perfect. If you’re like me you’re very far from it. We fall, we hurt each others, we screw up, we make bad decisions, and sometimes, we just don’t care … and that’s okay, we are sinners. But that does not take away our responsibility to love ourselves and to love EVERYONE else as much as you love yourself. That means you need to value them, trust them, do for them, and be there for them. It doesn’t matter if they don’t look or act or smell or behave like you. It doesn’t matter if their life priorities are not in line with yours. You can love a person in many ways. Helping them through hard times. Giving them five minutes of your time. Saying please and thank you. Or, simply, not judging them or making them feel like they have less value than you.