What Does It Mean to Love Your Neighbor As You Love Yourself

what does it mean to love your neighbor

Jesus said a lot of important things in the Bible, but one of the most monumental things that is attributed to him was after being asked what the greatest commandment was. Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” This seems pretty self-explanatory and even easy. Love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind. The second part is a little more confusing. What does it mean to love your neighbor as you love yourself?
Today’s political setting makes this lesson an especially important one for me. I want to live my life the way that Jesus intended for me. Politics tell me that this means being prolife and anti-gay marriage. But everything about how these political movements carry themselves seems to be the furthest thing from what God has in store for my Christian journey. Jesus didn’t bring people to heaven by judging them or condemning their choices in public. He loved people no matter what their circumstances, he surrounded himself with the people that needed his guidance the most, and he didn’t try to mold the world to fit his morals. He loved everyone the way that he loved himself.
This goes beyond the Golden Rule. When you love God it’s largely a private love. It’s invisible and at its truest form in your heart just for you and God. However, loving others is the expression of this kind of love. The first part of that kind of caring is living our life the way that Jesus did. Sharing with the poor and outcasts, compassion and honesty in our relationships, refusing to gossip or say bad things about others, not bearing a grudge, and never taking revenge on another person. Matthew 7:12 reminds us that the Lord taught us to do to others as we would have them do to us. Loving each other without wanting anything in return and making sure everyone felt included and cared about.
Loving your neighbor as yourself also goes one step further. We know that the way to salvation is through Jesus Christ, and he wants us to spread his good news. So part of this loving relationship is to lovingly share our faith with the people around us. To set an example by living our life in a way that would make Jesus proud without pushing. We are not only loving others when we share the gospel with them but are giving them a chance to experience Gods love as well. The most important part of this is not forcing others to see the world in the way that you do. If everyone had to live their life as a Christian, there would be no choice involved. A huge part of faith is having the choice and choosing God anyway.

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