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How Can I Love My Neighbor If I Don't Even Love Myself?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
June 18, 2024 5:00 pm

How Can I Love My Neighbor If I Don't Even Love Myself?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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June 18, 2024 5:00 pm

Episode 1513 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

  1. What does it look like to "honor my father" if he was abusive? 2. What Bible verses could I share to encourage my husband to trust God? 3. How can I love my neighbor if I can't even love myself? 4. How did Peter recognize Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration?     Today’s Offer: How To Keep Your Faith After High School   Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   View our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.

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How can I love my neighbor if I don't even love myself? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, it's Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-CORE.

843-2673. Now, you can also post your question on one of our social media sites. In fact, you can watch us right now on YouTube.

We have our own YouTube channel. You can watch Adriel every day at 11 30 a.m. Pacific time and send him your question through our YouTube channel. And feel free to email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, here's a call we have from Carson in Birmingham, Alabama. Carson, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, Pastor Adriel.

Thanks for taking the call. My question is about family relationships. You know, we just had Father's Day a few days ago. I don't have a great relationship with my dad, but I still want to obey God's word and, you know, honor my father and mother. What are some practical ways that I can be honoring to my father who, you know, I don't really even have contact with him anymore? So what is, you know, maybe not even for myself, but just anybody who doesn't have a great relationship with their father or mother?

How can someone honor them? Yeah, Carson, I'm sorry to hear about your relationship with your dad, and as I answer this question, I mean, I'm answering from a place also of personal experience. My relationship with my dad wasn't the greatest raised by a single mom. I have some contact with my dad, but not very much, and so I've had to wrestle through this, and obviously, you know, I know your pain, and there is a lot of pain there.

So a couple of things I would say. One of the things I've thought through personally is just, okay, how do I talk about my dad? It doesn't mean that I can't be honest about, you know, how his behavior, how how he's affected me, but I think we can let that reality cause us to grow bitter and full of anger, even full of hatred, and that can spill out in how we talk about this other person, and so I think, one, I think we can still honor our parents, even our parents who who didn't seek to honor the Lord and how they raised us, and maybe didn't even exhibit love for us at times. I think we can still honor them by seeking to not drag their names through the mud, as it were, and again, that doesn't mean not being honest about what's taken place, but I just know when I'm not in a good place, if I'm full of anger, if I'm full of bitterness, that I can begin to talk about him in ways to others that are just not helpful, are not honoring to the Lord, and certainly don't honor him in any way, and so I think being honest, I think obviously learning from another person's mistakes, that's one way we can actually, strangely enough, that's one way we can honor them.

I've always taken a lot of comfort from the words of the psalmist. In Psalm 27, 10, for my father and my mother have forsaken me, the psalmist says, but the Lord will take me in, and the fact that Yahweh, God, is a father to the fatherless, and so also not letting that pain that we've experienced, again, drive us to bitterness and hatred, but thinking about the mercy of God and bringing in the fatherless, and being a father to the fatherless, and I hope, Carson, that you've experienced that and have been comforted by that reality, but again, that's not to minimize the pain of a strained relationship with your dad and all of the effects and all the things that go along with that, and so may the Lord grant you a sense of peace in his presence, even the ability to forgive. Sometimes, Carson, on the broadcast we talk about the difference between forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration, and, you know, Jesus in the Sermon on the Mountain says we have to forgive, God calls us to forgive, and that's something that we extend to others by not wishing evil to fall upon them, not wanting, you know, you've hurt me so I want terrible things for you. No, we let go of that in forgiveness, but reconciliation, real reconciliation in a relationship, would require your father to own his mistakes, his sins, and sometimes, you know, we can extend forgiveness, we can have an attitude, a posture of forgiveness, seeking in our heart to forgive another person and yet still not be reconciled with that person, because that would require their repentance, their ownership of this, and so one thing I think you could seek to do, and this would be a way of honoring your dad still, is to have that heart of forgiveness towards him, longing for reconciliation, praying for him to repent, praying for him to acknowledge, you know, what he's done and how he's been as a father, that the grace of God would flood him, and so instead of just wishing, you know, bad for this person who's hurt us, wanting good for them and ultimately wanting the grace of God to flood their lives, and so insofar as you continue to seek that, even if it's just by praying for it, praying for that for your dad, I think that's one of the ways you can continue to honor him, and so, yeah, you know, we just, Father's Day, right, for some of us is such a wonderful time, because we think of our relationships with our dads and we're so grateful for our fathers, and then for others, you know, it's a time of pain, lots of pain, and feeling like, man, this is just a reminder of what I didn't have, and so God be with all those who are celebrating, you know, good fathers, and praise God for good dads, man, we need that, but also may the Lord be with and comfort those of us who didn't have that example, and praise God that he is a father to the fatherless. Amen. Carson, thanks so much for your call, for your vulnerability, and for your great question, and just something behind the scenes to let you know as listeners, even though, as Adriel mentioned, didn't have the best relationship with his biological father, Adriel is an incredible dad to his children and a great husband to his wife, and so, you know, the Bible talks about restoring the days the locusts have eaten, and that's certainly happened in your life. Yeah, well, I could be a better dad, I think, if you ask my oldest right now, he's upset because I banned him from video games on Saturday, that's like, man, you can't be talking to your mama like that, son, there's consequences, but yeah, well, I mean, I feel, in some ways, I've felt handicapped, you know, because it's like, oh man, I don't know how to do this or that, and praise God we do have that example in Scripture of the heavenly Father who is good, I mean, the best, and so seeking, man, seeking, one, a lot of mercy and grace, because boy, we fall so short, but help to reflect the goodness of our heavenly Father even as we seek to raise our own kids.

So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Our phone lines are open if you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, maybe there is a passage of Scripture that's always kind of confused you, and you're like, I'm not really sure I understand what that means, or I can't really interpret that, pastor, help me, well, we can call right now and Adriel will dig into that passage of Scripture with you, or maybe there's something going on in your church life that either is confusing to you or concerning to you about church governance or relationships within the body of Christ, we're welcome to those calls as well. Here is the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. We'll be taking calls for the next 15 minutes or so.

That's 1-833-843-2673. We would love to hear from you. We also have emails that come in on a regular basis, and our email address is questionsatcorechristianity.com. Here's one from one of our listeners named Margaret, and she says, I want my husband to understand more of what God can do for him when he has a hard time with his life situations at his job. What can I teach him from the Bible about asking God to help him to trust God more than trusting himself? I can't get through to him on his issues that he's facing. Please tell me what I can do to help him trust God.

Margaret, may the Lord bless you. I can just imagine, right, as you're watching your husband suffer and be frustrated with these situations at work, wanting to impart the wisdom, the grace of God to him. So often in relationships, whether it's between a husband and wife or family relationships, it's so hard for us to listen to, to hear from this person that we're so close with.

It can be, at least for many. And so the first encouragement that I would have for you is certainly to pray, because we feel like we think, oh, that's not that, you know, I need action, I need answers right now, I need to do something. Prayer just feels like I'm not doing anything. But the reality is prayer paves the way for the work of the Lord.

It's how God accomplishes his sovereign plan and purposes in our lives. And so I'm sure that you are praying, and I can tell you love your husband, I'm sure that you are praying. Continue to pray, because the kind of understanding that you want your husband to have, laying hold of who God is and the comfort that he can have through scripture, that's something that only comes from the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 2 that apart from the Spirit, the things of the Lord are just, they're foolishness to us.

We can't grasp them. And so what your husband needs is the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. Not first and foremost your work or my work, he needs the work of the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit works with the Word. And so if along the way, you know, as you're having conversations and he's sharing with you things that are frustrating, maybe an opportunity to share scripture, things that comfort you from the Word of God, I think, especially when we're thinking about anxiety and fear and so forth, the Sermon on the Mount is a great place to go. Matthew chapter 5 through 7, you think about what Jesus says about anxiety there, about worrying about tomorrow. And maybe, you know, I don't know what your husband's background is, if he's a believer in the Lord.

If he is, praise God. I think there, you know, coming alongside of him and encouraging him to pray, praying with him, maybe if there's even the willingness on his part to sit down and talk with a pastor or a Christian counselor to help him through some of the struggles that he has, I think those are all potential opportunities. But prayer and the Word are going to be foundational and not depending upon your own strength, not trying to force something, but being patient and seeking to come alongside of him and to help him in his concerns and whatever it is that he's overwhelmed with.

If there are ways for you to alleviate some of that, to come alongside of him as his wife and to serve him and to minister in that way to him, I think that could be huge in terms of providing an open door to be able to discuss some of these other things, too. And so may God be with you, Margaret. Thank you for reaching out to us, and may the Lord bless your family.

Good counsel. Thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you.

If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, or even doubts you might have about the Christian faith, we're open to discussing those as well. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Also want to mention a great free resource we have available. If you are a parent or a grandparent and you have a son or daughter, grandson, granddaughter that just graduated from high school or is about to graduate, we want to let you know about this resource that will help them to keep their faith, their Christian faith, after high school. Yeah, as Bill said, it's a great resource for graduating seniors, those getting ready to go off to college, or any young adult who is in the season of life where they're trying to make their parents' faith their own. We want to give you, here at Core Christianity, solid resources to help you, to help your family.

And so if you know someone who's just graduated, they're getting ready to go off to college, or maybe they're still at home but want to keep growing in their faith, get a hold of how to keep your faith after high school. It's absolutely free. You can find it by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. Again, corechristianity.com forward slash offers. And just a reminder, Core Christianity is a listener-supported ministry. We don't get a bunch of money from a church or a denomination. We don't play commercials on this program.

We count on people just like you to make regular gifts to keep the show on the air. So if that's something that you would like to do, you can do that at corechristianity.com. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core. You can call us 24 hours a day and leave your question on our voicemail system. Our number is 833-THE-CORE, 833-843-2673.

Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Layla. My question for Pastor Adriel is, in the Bible we hear the phrase, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. But as someone who struggles with severe mental illness, I have a hard time loving myself. In fact, I don't love myself. I kind of hate myself. So how does a person who doesn't love themselves love others as they are to love themselves? And what exactly does that verse mean? Would appreciate your answer. I'm a fan of the show. You guys have helped me greatly in my faith walk. Thank you.

Layla, thank you so much for reaching out to us, Sister, and I'm sorry to hear about how you feel. I think that at the heart of that confidence that we ought to have, self-confidence, you know, we often talk about, you know, and I think in Christian circles we can talk about how, you know, culture is so much about, you know, loving yourself and so forth, that we can respond to that and almost make it sound like, well, it's bad to love yourself in any way. But there's a ditch to reckon there as well, because according to the Bible, we are made in the image of God.

God created all things good. We've sinned against God, but even as sinners, God has so clearly demonstrated his love for us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. In sending his Son into the world, and that's where the love of God is most clearly manifested. John makes this clear in 1 John.

We love because he first loved us, and so the ability to love both, I think, ourselves and our neighbor is rooted in recognizing first that we are the recipients of God's love. I love how John emphasizes this so much in his book, Love. I love how John emphasizes this so much in his writings. In the book of Revelation, in Revelation chapter 1, verse 5, he says this, from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings on earth.

Wow. Well, here's who Jesus is, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler of the kings on earth. There is no one higher than this. And then John says, to him who loves us, and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us a kingdom priest to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.

Amen. To him who loves us, present tense. To him who loves you, right now, present tense, who's exhibited that love for you by going to the cross. I think what we need as the people of God, and even those of us who grasp it to some extent, what we need is a greater understanding of the height, the depth, the breadth of the love of Jesus Christ.

This is precisely what the Apostle Paul prayed for, for the Ephesians. And so my prayer for you, Layla, is first and foremost, that God would open your eyes to his love for you. Broken as we are, we wrestle with sin, and not just with sin, but with other challenges in our bodies. Mental health issues, you brought that up, and of course I don't think that that's sin.

It's a part of the fall, the effects of the fall, the fact that we have these serious mental health issues. But even with all of that, with our sin, with our struggles, with our mental health struggles, God loves us and has shown us that love in Jesus. And so my prayer is that you would grasp that, and as we grasp that, we are enabled, I believe, more and more to love our neighbor, to have a right view of ourselves, right? Yes, we condemn our sins, we confess our sins to the Lord, but it's not pleasing to God for us to just wallow in them, and to be, you know, miserable, and to just, you know, hate ourselves.

No, certainly not. The God who loved you does not want you to hate yourself. He wants us to hate our sins, but not ourselves. And so I just, again, pray that you would grasp that love more and more. And meditating, perhaps, on Scripture, on those promises that we see, maybe spending some time, as I've quoted a couple passages from John, in the Gospel of John, or reading through 1 John, and focusing on the love of God for you. Not exhibited in your circumstances so much, but exhibited so much in what He's accomplished in sending His Son into the world. That's what we look to, to say, okay, I know God loves me. Look at the cross, look at what He did for me. And as you sink your teeth into that, as you grasp it, may God give you a love for your neighbor, the people around you, and even a right view of yourself, Layla.

God bless you. You know, that is so well said, and particularly when you said, God hates our sin, He doesn't hate us. And I think so many people, because of perhaps past sins, they struggle with guilt and shame, and they translate that into saying, God must not love me because of what I did. And yet, as you said, it's not them, it's their sin that He hates, and He wants restoration.

He wants repentance and reconciliation with them. And, you know, sometimes it's not even past sins. Sometimes we've seen this, Bill, and I'm sure you could testify to it as well. People who struggle with mental health disorders or diseases feel very much like, there's something wrong with me, I must be, you know, I'm the problem. And sometimes in the church, you know, the church sort of reinforces that by not having a category for mental health sickness.

And so there can be a lot of guilt and a lot of shame and a lot of just self-loathing that comes along with that. And so that's why I think having a right understanding of the fall, the effects of the fall on the body and on the mind, and the fact that God, again, has demonstrated His love for us, for you, in Jesus. And that's where we need to go, that's where we need to look in order to answer the question, how do I know that God loves me? It's up to the cross, up to Jesus, and there God speaks resoundingly and says, I love you, here's my grace, lay hold of it by faith.

Amen. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. You can always leave us a voicemail at 833-THE-CORE.

Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Kathy. I'm curious about Matthew 17-4, where Peter wants to set up camp for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah when he sees them on the Mount of Transfiguration. And my question is, how did Peter recognize Moses and Elijah, knowing that those two men that were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, that they were Moses and Elijah? And that's my question.

Thank you. Great question. Well, you know, there are some descriptions of Elijah in the Old Testament. You think of 2 Kings 1, verse 8.

He's referred to as a hairy man. In fact, it's interesting because John the Baptist, when he shows up, he's basically, he's got Elijah's sort of, you know, dress, hairdo, yeah, so it could be that, you know, these disciples are just familiar with some of those Old Testament descriptions. I don't know if that's really mainly it. I think somehow they just knew. It's sort of interesting. I mean, this is, obviously we're talking about a miraculous encounter, but think of it like this, you know, I don't know if you've ever had a dream where you see a person in your dream and you're just like, I know who that is.

That's my sister or my aunt. Maybe it doesn't even look like them, but in your dream it's like you just know that that's who that is. Maybe they just knew that that's who they were dealing with. And of course, specifically, there's a theological point that's being made with Jesus meeting there on the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah and Moses, and it's this idea of the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Moses obviously being the one who delivered the law, Elijah being this prophet.

Moses was also a prophet, by the way. But all of those things together, right, they might have just had a supernatural spiritual insight, the moment of. They might have recognized their clothing. It might have been, you know, understanding this really pinnacle moment of fulfillment. It could have been all those things, or maybe just one of those things, but it's clear that they understood, hey, this is pretty special. What's taking place here is pretty special.

We should build, you know, tabernacles here, little homes for each of you, Peter says. And it's funny because the Gospels, you know, they provide this clarifying note. He didn't know what to say, basically.

He was just, he just didn't know. He is so overwhelmed, right? What do you say? Hey, let's build you guys. Should we build you guys little tabernacles, churches here?

No. And of course, then they hear the voice from heaven to listen to Christ. So it's such an amazing picture of the kingdom of God breaking in right there in front of the disciples, and Jesus revealing himself in his glory to his people.

And that's what he wants to do even now. He does it by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the preached word so that each of us can come into a deeper understanding of who Jesus is. And he calls us to know him. He calls you to know him. And he says, look to me and be saved. God bless and thanks for listening. Together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-18 20:21:52 / 2024-06-18 20:34:27 / 13

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