Love Your Neighbor as You “Love Yourself”

Published: 29th of October, 2022

Last updated: October 30, 2022 at 2:02 am

My whole life, I’ve tried my best to follow God’s commandment, “love your neighbor as yourself.” But there came a point in life not too long ago where I felt drained and tired, like I was constantly being taken advantage of, and as though I was missing something. I felt like all I’ve gained from following this commandment were wounds, scars, and emptiness. For a few brief moments, I felt that God’s Word was failing me.

So I started to pray about it. I said, “God, I’ve been following your commandment all my life, but I’m still suffering, so what I am doing wrong?”

It was then that God spoke to my heart and said, “you’re missing something. Read the commandment over again.” So I read it again. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” And then it dawned upon me. I was missing an essential part of the commandment. In those words, God was commanding me first to love myself, and then my neighbor – in the same way that I love myself. I was missing the very essence of God’s commandment: to love myself. And indeed, if I do not love myself, how can I love others? I realized that being unkind to myself is just as bad as being unkind to others.

You see my whole life, if I had one apple, and my neighbor had none, I would give that one apple to my neighbor, because I thought I was fulfilling the commandment, “love thy neighbor as thyself.” If it were raining, and someone next to me was without a coat, I would take mine out and give it to him, and stay without. I was loving my neighbor, but I wasn’t loving myself. I was sacrificing my happiness for others, and it wasn’t getting me anywhere, because I wasn’t obeying the commandment in the fullness of its glory.

Now, I understand that if I have one apple, and my neighbor has none, then I need to cut it in half, and give the half to my neighbor. If someone next to me were without a coat in the rain, I need to try to determine who would suffer more without a coat. I need to think about my safety first, and if it were truly a deserving case, then give my coat to my neighbor. Before filling up the cups of others, I need to fill mine up.

Many people complain that they have been living a Christian life, but they are still miserable. They say that they obey God’s commandments but aren’t getting anywhere. When we find ourselves in situations like these, we need to pray and ask God for wisdom, as it is written, “if any of you lacks wisdom, pray and ask God who is a bountiful giver.”

It’s very easy to misinterpret God’s word. And doing so tends to lead us away from God. Throughout history, people have wrongfully used scriptures to justify wars, slavery, and many other terrible sins. I’ve even heard stories of people who wrongfully referenced the scripture, “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just” to try to justify stealing from others.

And all this reminds me of the scripture, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” And also, “ Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

You see the truth is, God’s Word never fails us. It is us who fail to understand and apply the Word of God. If you have been living the Christian life but you are not satisifed with the results you are getting, pray and ask God what you are missing, what more you need to do, and He will direct and instruct you.

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