Recently, I had a conversation about “JOY” and I imagined a completely different view of joy based upon biblical statements that seem to be in direct opposition of what I learned as a child in Sunday school. Did any of you remember learning what the acronym J O Y meant?

J=Jesus (1st)
O=Others (2nd)
Y=Yourself (Last)

By definition the word ” JOY” describes an emotion of well-being or good fortune; the expression of an emotion; a state of happiness; or a cause of delight. Depending on your religious views or beliefs it nay evoke thoughts of Christmas songs and celebrations. The vertical acronym J O Y was explained to me as a child in Sunday School. My all-time favorite teacher Roberta “Birdie.” J=Jesus; O=Others; Y=Yourself. The fundamental principle was to teach us to recognize that Jesus/God created us and we were created to serve Him; secondly, we should carefully consider “Others” before ourselves, as to not be prideful and to be respectful of all “others; and lastly, only after we have shown care, love and respect to “Jesus” and “Others,” then we could care, love and have respect for ourselves. As it was taught using a vertical structure to emphasize the hierarchy.

What if,…we allow ourselves to look at J O Y from horizontal view(?).

Jesus, Others, and Yourself

Does it change how we treat others and the order in which we do? I believe the answer is yes. I definitely don’t believe my Sunday school teacher intentionally taught me to think less of myself by being last on the list, instead it was presented as a guide to take others into consideration and think about how we treat others and it was a great way to teach the basic teachings of the bible.

So looking at J O Y horizontally it takes away the sense that others are more worthy than ourselves, the New Testament specifically tells us that we are to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus uses the word “as”  NOT “before or first.” Jesus loves all people, just as Jesus died for all sinners and He has redeemed all sin. There’s not big sin and little sin, it’s all sin. God’s Love is love enough for all. In fact, Jesus left Heaven to be born human and lived among us, teaching and loving everyone. So, if we tilt our heads and see J O Y horizontally there is overwhelming love/joy for everyone.

Mark 12:28-31 “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
~Blessings and Peace~IMG_1396