Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD. ~Leviticus 19:18
Maybe you have heard it this way: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Love is not something that we are born with. Love is a learned attribute. Love is something that we all need but do you see where the love starts?
We cannot even begin to love our neighbor until we first learn to love ourselves. True love springs from the Dayspring on high, from the love of God at the very core of His heart. Yet, through His tender mercies, His love toward us has no boundaries. His love is the principle pattern, the beginning and the end. His love in us is the representation of His love toward others.
When we understand that He first loved us we can begin to embrace His love. Once we have accepted His love toward us, we begin to rejoice in His love and it overflows into others naturally.
I suppose Jesus could have just said love your neighbor. However, if one does not love themselves how could they love their neighbor? The scripture does not tell us to love our neighbor more or less, than we love ourselves, but to love our neighbor ‘as we love our self’. No different. There is no upper limit or even a lower limit because there is no limit, no boundary.
Loving our neighbor with the very same extent and same degree that we love ourselves is fulfilling this commandment.
Remember too, greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. This means that we love ourselves so much that we turn to God who gave His life for us and we would want no less for our friends and neighbors, so we put our life on the line and go out and share the gospel that Jesus loves us so much that He gave His life for us and that He died and rose again. One day, He will come and raise us from the dead too.
If I loved my neighbor any less than I loved myself, I would have no respect what so ever for my neighbors or myself. How can I sit in the luxury of all the comforts that God has provided for me if I see my neighbor with a need so great?
In a word, once we begin to know His love for us, we can move in the power of the Spirit, through every single circumstance and in various ways, loving our neighbors with the same love that we have for ourselves and we can even do this showing others how we wish to be treated were the circumstances reversed.
It is in this way that we share the love of Jesus who lives in us. Christ in us, the hope of glory. Not our glory but His. We are not here for ourselves; we are here to glorify Him who lives in us.
No respecting circumstance or sacrifice is greater or useful than loving our neighbor as we love our self.
When you have given up all that you have and all that you are and given of yourself completely, then you have given up all that you love.
Jesus gave this love to us. He emptied Himself of all that He ever was and laid His life on the line. He is love. His life was the most valuable material object that Jesus possessed. He gave that up, for us so that we might live. This is the greatest love of all.
There is no greater love. He has given everything that He had to give. There is nothing more that He can do to prove His love.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” ~ Jesus
- Isaiah 54. The LORD’s love for Israel. A promise of everlasting kindness. God’s Love (KJV) (bummyla.wordpress.com)