Breaking the cycle

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It was so easy to be angry at the legalistic Christians who have no idea what it means to love others as we are called to. I pretty much quit being angry and bitter when I made a guess at WHY they had been so poor at loving. God had called us to love others as we love ourselves.

It appeared to me perhaps we as Christians struggle to love others because we do not actually know how to love ourselves. For so many of us, or I know for me at least, I would not wish on anyone the kind of love I dish out on myself much of the time. So I see Christians in a different light. We suck so much at loving others because we do not know how to love ourselves as Christ sees and loves us.[Tweet That] So the cycle begins.

Now I have been noticing another point in that cycle. That point answers the question, "Why do we struggle to love ourselves?" "Why do Christians have such a horrible time loving themselves and thus loving and accepting others?" Essentially, why ARE we legalistic?

The answer comes from within the question. We are legalistic because we have been hurt by legalism.

I have a hard time loving and accepting others because I have a hard time loving myself, and I have a hard time loving and accepting myself because I do not feel loved and accepted by Christians, and Christians have a hard time loving and accepting me because they have a hard time loving and accepting themselves, and they have a hard time loving and accepting themselves because I, a Christian, have a hard time loving and accepting them. And the cycle of legalism thickens, and I am more a part of it than I ever realized.

Can the cycle be broken? Yes! How?

By loving and accepting myself AND others! By not withholding love and acceptance! The easiest cycle breaker (and hardest personal choice) is to break the cycle at the point of reality and brokeness. I take away the pretense of perfection...of myself. Then I allow the Christians to realize I have no perfection pretense of myself and I am able to have no perfection pretense of them. This will happen when I become more concerned with being honest and acquiring healing instead of appearing fine, okay, good, or dare I say, perfect. It is in my brokenness that legalism cycles are broken. Because then I am able to love others as I love myself, which is loving acceptance of myself despite my failures and mistakes. So when I love and accept others as I do myself, they can love and accept themselves as they are, and then love me and others as they love themselves.

But right now, we DO love others as we love ourselves...legalistically.

2 Lies We Believe About Ourselves

There are two lies we come to believe in our belief system, and because we believe them, we react in ways that are destructive to us. 1 The Lies People Tell Us The first kind of lies we believe are those that are projected onto us by others; most often by those who are authority figures and those closest to us. There is no defense against these lies when you are younger. Those sorts of lies are the ones which cut right to the heart and become the 'truths' we allow to run our lives. If you were told you were bad, you believed you were bad. If you were told you were ugly, you believed you were ugly. If you were told you were dumb, you believed you were dumb. If you were told you were too dramatic, you believed you were too dramatic. Get the point??

The result can be an inability to tell the difference between what you did and WHO YOU ARE!

2. The Lies We Tell Ourselves The other sort of lies we believe are those we tell ourselves in order to survive. These are crafted by ourselves in circumstances when we were abused or neglected. These are moments when our true needs are not met. We grow less and less vulnerable because of this. We did not want to get hurt any longer; so we became less vulnerable in order to avoid getting hurt. We start to believe things (lies) like, "I don't need anybody," "Nobody really cares what I think or feel anyway."

We begin to believe things like this and grow more and more numb; less and less vulnerable. The problem with this is that refusing to be vulnerable may actually be less painful for the moment BUT it undermines our ability to have good and healthy relationships in the future.

We have to begin the process of disproving the lies (projected and survival) we have come to believe as truth, because those beliefs are tearing us down.

The Power of Vulnerability

I saw this TEDTalk yesterday, and it is one of the best things I've taken in this week. There is so much here I am needing to think more about and write out. It is worth your 20 minutes, and I would love to read your reflections. [youtube=]