Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Hardest Commandment

Which commandment do you think is the hardest to keep?  Love God? Love your neighbour? 

How about love yourself?

Yes it’s there, slipped in by Jesus at the end of the second greatest commandment.

Love your neighbour as yourself.

We all get the “love your neighbour” bit but what about loving yourself?  The problem is that most of us don’t really know ourselves.  We think we do but we don’t really see ourselves as others see us but an idealised version of what we would like to be, not what we are.  If you get past this and begin to find the real you (it took me a breakdown and a lot of counselling to do this) there is a very good chance that you won’t like yourself because your faults start to dominate your thinking.

It is at this point that God tells you to love yourself.  Not because you deserve it but for the simple reason that God loves you – warts and all.

This is not an excuse to stay as you are but rather it is a signpost to keep you moving in the right direction.  God loves you as you are and as you should be; perfect in His image.  Just as we wouldn’t leave someone we love to struggle with something they can’t manage so God doesn’t leave us to just get on with it but comes to us in the person of the Holy Spirit to guide and encourage us in our journey.  This may be directly to you or through the Body of Christ here on earth – the Church.

So don’t forget God commands you to love yourself, not in a selfish way but so you may reflect His glory.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Last Sunday (8th July 2012) I did something I’d never thought I’d do in the first 56 years of my life – I was confirmed in an Anglican church.  Traditionally confirmation is a service where people who have been baptised as children confirm that they have grown up and accepted that faith as their own but for me it was slightly different so I thought I’d explain why I, having been baptised in a Baptist church in my teens, thought it was right for me.

Firstly I did want to confirm my faith.  A year ago my wife and I moved church from the Baptist church I was carried into as a baby and where I met and married my wife.  You will understand that it was not an easy decision to make but a series of events had made it clear that we could not remain in communion with some of the people there.  The last few years have not been very easy for me in both physical and mental health and being forced out from my birth church had a negative impact on me.  All through this time my faith, although battered, survived and the confirmation service gave me an opportunity to affirm this in public.

Secondly my confirmation was a sign that I had committed myself to that particular part of God’s church; in this case St George The Martyr, Shirley.  This was not the first church we had attended after leaving our home church but, when attempts at reconciliation failed, both my wife and I suddenly felt this was where we were meant to be.  I cannot tell you if we will be there for a short or long time but it is the right place for us for the foreseeable future.

Finally it was also a Thank You to St Georges for making us so welcome and accepting us into membership; more people talk to me after each service than at my old church despite only having a lot less members.  Although we have not joined the choir we have sung with them at special services and they have even been brave enough to let me play guitar in the few services that have a small music group playing.