Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Instinctively, we do take care of ourselves and meet our daily physical needs. Just as I wouldn’t ignore my own needs, I shouldn’t ignore the needs of others. Love your neighbor as yourself. Consider their needs. The Apostle Paul put it this way in Philippians 2:3-4 - Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
But when I see Jesus’ command for us to love others as much as I love myself I am a little troubled that in our day and age psychological and sociological factors have now seeped in to this simple direction. People are so extreme now. We have the “do it if it feels good” group and the self-loathers. I wouldn’t want any of these people considering me like (as in the same way) they consider themselves.
Self- loathers’ perspective is so distorted, how can they love others when they berate and harm their very own selves? And the self indulging camp is just as bad. No boundaries, nothing off limit? That means the don’t love others because they don’t care what happens to people because they certainly don’t care about what happens in their wake of pursuing their pleasure. How can we love our neighbor like we love ourselves when society doesn’t teach what properly loving ourselves looks like?
And that’s why we have Jesus. He doesn’t say Love your neighbor as yourself without tons of examples. Here’s a few:
*Philippians 2:5-7 (Jesus) gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position...
*John 15:9 I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
*John 15:13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
*1 John 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
See, there is no way to love myself correctly or love others at all apart from knowing God and his love for me. God’s love shows me that living to please myself is sin, not love (see Romans 7:5). And self-loathing is also sin because it negates the fact that I am totally treasured by God (see 1 Peter 2:9). God loves and accepts me just like I am. Therefore, I must love and accept myself exactly as I am and love and accept others exactly the way they are and not let the world’s distorted views of self-love obstruct the Greatest Commandment.
Thank you that I can love because you first loved me. Society has it backwards. They pick what to love or call hate love. But you have the REAL scoop, the real truth about love, and I pray for you to help me to love others the way you have intended. I love you and thank you and pray in Jesus’ name, amen.