Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

We all want to be loved. It's part of our DNA and can't be denied, but sometimes we crave the love of others so much it becomes a constant preoccupation, and the fear of not being loved becomes a chronic source of stress. If we're constantly worried about whether our actions will cause people to despise us, or whether we're lovable enough not to be rejected, we sink into that "I" trouble we touched on in Part 1. Not only does it become a detriment to our physical and mental health, it becomes a hindrance to our spiritual well-being by keeping us focused on "I" instead of God or our fellow man. The irony is that we don't have to worry about whether we're loved. God loves us unconditionally—regardless of who we are or what we're doing. Even when we're sinning, He loves us. He has to turn away from the sin, but He waits in the wings for us to repent and turn back to Him. With the infinite, omnipotent Creator showering perfect love on us, we need not worry if we're despised by the world. In fact, if the world despises us, we're in good company: It despised Jesus, too. Yet even still, He went about His ministry teaching and healing and saving whether He was being greeted in love with palm branches or being nailed to the cross. Let's do our best to stay focused on our missions rather than being moved to make people love us or not to despise us.

Let's pray: From the desire of being loved and the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus. Amen!

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves." (Mt 11:29)

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