LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF
The title for this article comes straight from Christ’s summation of the Ten Commandments. In response to a specific question, he offered a two part summary of their meaning. Let’s zero in on the second part as found in Matthew 22:39.
Do we realize that the head of the Church, Christ, was actually telling us that it is not only okay to love ourselves, but that love of self was part and parcel with the last six of the Commandments! He was specifically instructing us to properly love ourselves, and also extend that love to others. I had a Church member ask me a question that prompted this article. She asked: “How can I love someone else as I love myself, if I do not even like myself?” How about you, do you like yourself?
I used to laugh at the hippies of the sixty’s who were trying to find themselves.
I laugh no more, because I too had to discover who I was as a person and what made me tick. Do you really know who you are, and what your special gifts are?
Let’s put Christ’s statement in clear English. He is actually instructing us to love others in exactly the same way as we love ourselves. Most people interpret it this way: that we are to love others in place of ourselves, because they believe erroneously, that to love oneself is not Christian. But to be a Christian, one must obey Christ! And Christ is specifically commanding us to love ourselves. This implies that we are Christians only if we work to become the best person that we can be. This vastly strengthens our ability to help others. This meaning is also found in His statement that if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch! Everyone knows Suze Orman. She uses the analogy of an emergency on an airliner. Put your own mask on first, then, you can help others who may be having difficulty.
This is what God and Christ have done by example. They created all the wonders of the universe, and enjoy it to the full, and now they are also able to share that abundance with everyone who ever lived, and yet no one accuses them of being selfish, except Satan! Satan would accuse God of selfishness for not allowing Satan and the demons to reside at Heavenly Jerusalem!
We are to come to perfection as much as possible, becoming more Christ-like. We must not allow ourselves to get wrapped up in little tiny works to try to save just a few people in the world now, because Christ wants us to wait until we are born into His family. Then we will be able to help billions and that into eternity. All because we obeyed Christ and learned to properly love ourselves, first! More later!