love your neighbor as yourself

by Pastor Mark Jordan

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“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Luke 10:27, NIV)

Today’s verse is actually one we explored last week, where we see the greatest commandment is based upon loving God and loving others. When you look closely at Luke 10:27, you’ll see that it comes down to loving your neighbor as you love yourself. This will necessarily strike different people in different ways. Some experience love of self in such an extreme way that leads to narcissism. Others have such a poor sense of self esteem that they wonder if there is anything to love at all.

God made you, and God loves you. He sent Jesus to die for you. That defines your value. With that, however should come a healthy sense of self and boundaries. God doesn’t want you to think of yourself more highly than you ought (Romans 12:3), but he doesn’t want you to think less, either. God wants you to know your value, and help others find their value, too. It takes time with God and others to find that balance and live into this healthy balance.

Jesus gave us a good model for this in the Sermon on the Mount. He taught, “Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, CEB). You might know that as the Golden Rule. Using the Golden Rule in your own life forces you to think about how you want to be treated, and then do the same to others. If you want to be treated, be fair to others. If you want to be treated graciously, be gracious to others. If you want to be treated lovingly, be loving toward others. True, people will not always reciprocate, but that is on them.

God wants you to have a healthy sense of love for yourself, so you can show healthy love to others. How do you want to be treated? As Jesus said, “go and do likewise.” May this be your model for living, treating people the way you want to be treated.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your Golden Rule. May it help me see how I want to be treated and treat others accordingly. I ask this in Jesus’ name,who modeled this so perfectly. Amen.