CHECKING YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL
If I do not respect myself, do not treat myself well, and do not pay attention to myself, who is going to care about me?
Therefore, I am the quality basis of the love I have to both share and receive.
Loving your neighbor as yourself is the only way to make love grow in all its dimensions.
If I do not love myself, I will never love any neighbor of mine either.
On the other hand, if I say I love my neighbor, but I do not love myself, I am lying.
Loving myself without loving my neighbor is selfishness and narcissism.
Loving my neighbor without loving myself is the Humiliated Goodness Disease, which easily becomes tyranny and madness when the “goody-goody” gains some power over their neighbor.
Without love for my neighbor, any love for myself will be unhealthy, and will show as vanity, pride, arrogance, self-importance, selfishness, narcissism and madness.
Without love for myself, any love for my neighbor is not love but an emotional need or a need to be accepted or an unconscious (or even conscious) bargain. I call it the Goodness Disease, which is anything but love.
In this way, I can measure my own inner and spiritual health by my ability to truly care about my neighbor and act on his/her behalf.
Without prayer and action, any love is vain.
Likewise, I can tell if I am able to truly love my neighbor from my own ability to truly love myself with the respect with which I love someone with love, not unhealthiness.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you!”
Your love for yourself and your neighbor is made healthful by your love for God.
If I know that God loves me, I love him gratefully and joyfully; I love myself in a balanced, assured way; and I love my neighbor as a privilege, for Jesus has died for him/her.
Therefore, the love for my neighbor is the “pointer” of the historical-existential “scale” of my living with God and myself.
Yes! Because even if I say I love God, I cannot show it in any way outside the realm of my human relations.
God has no altars of worship outside of the love for our neighbor!
If you have not understood it yet, then you still did not get the slightest idea of what the Gospel is all about.
Think about it.
Translation: F. R. Castelo Branco | September 2007
From the original “VEJA SE VOCÊ ENTENDEU O EVANGELHO”