With all Your Heart, With all Your Soul, and With all Your Mind

           Sometimes I am certain I am my own worst enemy. It seems to be second nature for me to assume I have not done something good enough, soon enough, with enough compassion, with enough love, or with enough thoughtfulness. I especially excel at this self-flagellation during Lent. Why should God love me, not only a sinner, but a fairly good sinner at that?

          When I was of elementary school age, in Sunday School I learned the following prayer: Thou shalt love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. These words that I command you shalt be upon your heart. Be holy unto your God. I am the Lord your God. It has  never been a problem for me to love God with all my heart with all my soul and with all my mind. I have been angry with God, confused by God, frustrated with God, terrified of God, and have wondered where on earth (or in heaven) God was. But I have never not loved Him.

          But here I am, near the end of Lent, wondering what is it about me that God chooses to love me? I am not rich; I am not famous; I hold no great influence over anyone; I am not beautiful. I am not even very organized. I could not be pious if my life depended upon it. I do not always manage to get Morning or Evening Prayer said.  Would I give up my life for Christ? I would like to think so, but don't hold me to it. So what is there about me for God to love?

          Yesterday, as I drove to Lexington in the silence of the morning, I sensed God trying yet again, to explain His love for me. Of course I know all the reasons we tend to tick off for why someone is attractive and hence deserving to be loved, are not things that matter to God. He loves me because I am one of His children, because he has known me since before I was in my mother's womb, and because I was created in God's image. God knows the number of hairs on my head. God loves me in spite of myself. God loves me, and YOU, so much that He gave His only begotten Son so that when you and I leave this world, we will make our new homes in Christ's eternal presence.

          I believe that God loves us simply because we are God's children. God loves each of us with all His heart, with all His soul and with all His mind. Yes, Jesus commands us to love our neighbors even as we love ourselves, but I also believe He wants us to love ourselves even as we love our neighbors.



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