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Lovers, by losing themselves in their loving, find themselves, become themselves. Haters simply lose themselves. ~ Frederick Buechner

To be lost can mean so many things, and the thing we intend through our lostness makes all the difference in the world as to the impact upon the world, starting with our own hearts.

“I once was lost…”, depending upon how we turn this phrase, could be a wonderful thing. To lose our ego. To lose our pride. To lose all the clambering we do in an effort to feel good enough, worthy. To lay down our lives and die to self.

“but now I’m found” ahh!!! Restoration of our true selves. Resurrection. Original beauty. Gone is the striving. We are Home, finally.

I haven’t the foggiest as to if John Newton considered the complexity of his words when he penned Amazing Grace way back in 1772. Somewhere along the way, he’d lost himself in hate, greed, rape, and murder, becoming thoroughly rotten to the core. Even still, all he had to do was lose himself to the amazing, ridiculous (ridiculous, read about this here) grace of God.

There is much ado about all kinds of hate in the media these days. Hate crimes that lead to random acts of violence—the beating of the elderly passerby on a city street; the shooting of innocents in a school, church, or bar; civilians targeted by warlords and firebrands; sometimes, even you and me when something hurts too much, draws us into an oily anger, or makes us unbearably uncomfortable.

Yet for all the talk and reporting about hate, what I don’t hear discussed is where it begins, and what we can do to assuage it.

Paradoxically, it does not start with the thing out there that we hate. Although few are conscious of it, hate always starts with ourselves. A hatred of some thing, some part, or even perhaps, the whole of ourselves.

People who truly love themselves, apply and receive grace for themselves, are the most loving people you can find. They know the dark, lost, fallen parts of themselves and accept this as part of being fully human. Not that they condone harmful behavior but rather accept being human means being imperfect.

Once we can stop hating these imperfections in ourselves, slowly-by-slowly, we find grace for all those who may have caused us harm. We can start with those closest to us, and over time consider the bigger picture of strangers, governments, and the Church.

Practicing self-love may be the best gift you can offer the world.

Love, your sister along the journey,

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