I frequently ask God to help me love people better, including myself. I desired the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:5. One that’s not “self-seeking,” or “easily angered.” One that doesn’t ‘keep score.’

I learned it wasn’t possible until I gave myself permission:

Permission to care about my feelings, to choose my relationships, to say no, to not need everyone’s approval, and the list goes on. I needed permission to be me.

I learned I could not give myself permission because guilt and shame kept me trapped in a life I was living for everyone else. Fear of loss, intimacy, and not being liked caused me to quench my own authenticity; the channel for love to flow freely.

One of the most powerful stories about God’s solution to sin, guilt and shame comes in John 8:1-11.

This is the story where the religious leaders brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. The law said she was to be stoned for her transgressions.

In modern day, we stone ourselves by staying boxed into emotional cages we create for ourselves.

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (vs7).

Jesus Christ just redeemed this woman caught in her sin, but the amazing part of the story comes next:

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (vs 10-11).

Jesus Christ just gave her permission to live her life by releasing her from condemnation. Yet we all condemn ourselves constantly.  Go now and leave your life of sin, said Jesus. He gave her a second chance after sparing her life from the religious leaders.

It was later in life after working my own personal recovery program that I was able to internalize what Jesus Christ did for me! It is reflected here in the story of that woman.

I learned I couldn’t buy love; earn love; or force love.

I learned real love allows for freedom. I learned real love is a choice.

I learned that my shame had separated me from the healing that God had for me

I had to allow God’s love to become real to myself before I could give it away to anyone else.

  1. What do you need to give yourself ‘permission’ to ‘do’ or ‘be?’
  2. What’s blocking you, or what are you afraid of?

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