What it Really Means to Love Your Neighbor

 

If you’re a Christian then I can almost guarantee that you’ve heard the 10 commandments spiel at least once in your life.

You know.

  1. Put God first
  2. Worship God only
  3. Keep God’s name Holy
  4. Remember the Sabbath
  5. Respect your parents
  6. Do not harm anyone
  7. Love the one you marry
  8. Don’t steal
  9. Don’t lie
  10. Don’t be jealous of what others have

And, if you have been a Christian for at least a little while you’ve probably also heard the two greatest commandments that Jesus talked about.

The first is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” Matthew 22:38

The second is to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matthew 22:39

what it really means to love your neighbor

what it really means to love your neighbor

And if those two verses aren’t enough for you, almost the same thing is written in Mark 12:30-31.

” love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, mind, and strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

There is no GREATER commandment than these two.

No greater commandment.

If these two commandments are the greatest, then that means we need to take them seriously.

Of course we know what it means to love our God with all our heart. It’s a daily struggle but we are usually aware of the love we need for God. And the love your neighbor concept goes over fairly well. For the most part we know that it doesn’t apply to just our “neighbor” but it really is a metaphor for all the people we meet.

So what’s the struggle? What’s the key part to this second great commandment? 

Maybe you skimmed over it, maybe you’re hoping I don’t mention it, or maybe you didn’t even notice it at all.

We are called to “love your neighbor as you love yourself”!

You are called to love me as you love yourself.

I am called to love you as I love myself.

Oh man… If I followed this commandment I would feel so bad for you! Although I love many, many people (including you), I can’t image loving you the way I love myself. There is no question that I love others more than I love myself.

When I look at myself I often see:

  • Someone who is on the verge of being over-weight and not a strong momma who just had a baby.
  • Someone who has some straggly hairs and not someone who experienced minimal hair loss from pregnancy.
  • Someone who says too little and not someone who sees a lot.
  • Someone who is shy and not someone who is wise.
  • Someone who let’s little things bug her and not someone who cares deeply.

So, for me to love you the way Jesus called me to is for me to love myself the way Jesus called me to.

For you to love your neighbor wholeheartedly you’ll also need to love yourself wholeheartedly!

This is the hard part. Sometimes the idea of “love your neighbor” is hard but what we don’t realize is that it can be almost impossible if we don’t love ourselves first.

I am still working on the whole “loving myself” mentality. It’s by far a daily struggle!

There has been one thing that has helped me with loving myself and that is reminding myself how much Jesus loves me. (Wow, there was a lot of me, myself, and I’s in that sentence– phew)

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But seriously, knowing how special you are in God’s eyes is the key to loving yourself.

How much does God love you?

God loves YOU so much that He gave His only son to be tortured and crucified on the cross for your sins. That’s pretty big! God loves you so much that He wanted to make a way for you to live with Him in heaven. That’s big! He loves you so much that He made you in his image. Wow! He wants you to cast all of your cares on Him. (1 Peter 5:7) He wants to take your burdens off your shoulders! He wants to help you carry your cross.

Wow, just wow.

We cannot compare how God views us to anything on this earth. We cannot compare it to the thing’s our husband’s do or don’t say. We can’t compare it to the not-so-sweet but innocent comments from our toddlers. And we certainly can’t compare it to the media– mostly because everything you see is FALSE!

The closest thing I can compare it to is a mother’s love for her baby.

I have talked about this before but think about the very first time you looked into your newborn child’s eyes. The love that envelopes your heart can not even be measured with anything on earth. That bond; that love is so strong and amazing.

God loves you more than that!

So when you have self-doubt and negative thoughts roaming in your head, just remind yourself that God has made you EXACTLY how He wanted. God doesn’t make mistakes! And God loves every freckle, every odd hair, every stretch mark, and everything else on your body and in your heart. His love for you does not dwindle because of your dress size or your hair color.

When you begin to feel that love for yourself, you’ll finally know what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.

And that love is really, really good.

What it really means to love your neighbor

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you liked this, feel free to check out these other great posts!

Living a Life of an Imperfect Homemaker
How to make your own gratitude journal
You are enough: Seeing yourself through God's eyes

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