“Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” Do we really love ourselves? Do we have a list of all that we think is wrong with us … how we look, how we behave? Do we continually compare ourselves with others… their talents, their possessions? Do we identify ourselves with what we have and what we do? Is this who we really are? Are we afraid to experience the wonder of who we are in God? Are we afraid to believe in our own greatness? Are we afraid of the unknown? Or perhaps it is more true to ask if we are afraid of losing the known.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson. Her words were quoted by President Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inauguration address.
We are being called to recognise and respond to God’s loving presence in ourselves and in every single person we meet, irrespective of how they behave. And that is true even when the person acts in ways totally contrary to God’s way. In fact, it is precisely then that the God in me has to reach out and affirm God in the other… our neighbour.