Father God, thank you for loving me even when I am unlovable. Thank you for unconditional love and faithfulness when I am unfaithful. You are never changing, ever loving — and disciplining us, for our own good and Your glory. What did I ever do to deserve such love? Nothing — accept to believe in the One You sent — Jesus. Such a simple thing that can do so much.

Last week I was set free from a lie that haunted me most of my life — “Nobody loves me.” How many times I’ve heard others say that as well. Nobody loves me. That is a curse that has taken too many lives because it was believed. Shame, bitterness, anger, not to mention hatred, are all things that rob, kill and destroy lives. The list of negatives goes on, but I don’t like to dwell there. To each his own understanding of what drives them to love or hate.

As a child reading about the love of God, the love He had for the world, every person and thing created, made me feel that goal was unattainable. Still I tried. I believed we had to love everybody, whether or not they love back.

Love one another as you love yourself. Ah, there’s the rub — do we love ourselves as He loves us, with humble assurance? I have recognized for years my own unloveable traits — or was I looking at the wrong definition of love? Search Biblegateway.com for the phrase “love one another” and you’ll find the ways and times we are commanded and encouraged to love one another — and there are benefits and consequences whether written or implied.

Bear in mind, vanity is not the same thing as loving yourself. For anyone who has not experienced self-doubt, insecurity, hopelessness, rejection or any other form of judgement toward self, this may seem strange, but I am not alone. That’s why I’m writing today to encourage others to find the victory that has blessed me during the last week as I’ve come to realize, I’ve always been loved.

Sure, I knew Jesus loves me, “The Bible tells me so,” the childhood song was taught to me and remembered even today. Thirty years ago I had a deeper revelation of how much God loves me, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will never die — that part was easy. Correcting the lies, the mistruths that have plagued me since childhood is a whole other thing.

Every one of us, I’m guessing, has experienced some form of rejection, whether by a parent, teacher, co-worker, boss, friend, spouse, stranger — the list goes on. What we believe about ourselves — what God says about us — is a true measurement. Everything else must be aligned with His word about love in order for our true character to be revealed.

He doesn’t make mistakes. Knowing the love of a downs syndrome child is proof of His grace. They may have sensitivities, but their love is unconditional, and joy is so much a part of their lives, they can’t help but bring joy to those who spend time getting to know them. Most people don’t.

I’ve experienced many forms of freedom since becoming a Christian, persecutions as well. However, I’m reminded this week the reality of the scripture, “Truth will set you free.” I have a whole new depth of understanding what that means in my own life. Seek truth, and you will find peace and joy. Revelation is a great gift. Pass it on.

VICKY BRANTON is Teche Life editor of The Daily Iberian.

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