“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.’”- Leviticus 19:18
When God says, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself", what does that mean? Does that mean you strive to serve their needs? Does it mean you look at them with compassion and forgiveness? Does that mean you choose to overlook their flaws and discover their purpose?
I am watching so many people who claim Christ to completely ignore or add their limitations to the meaning of loving their neighbor. They even go as far as to negate Jesus' words of loving our enemies. Hateful, racist, prejudice, fear mongering, and/or -phobic rhetoric does belong on the tongues of believers.
I will allow people who do not claim Jesus to say what they say because they do not understand the love, joy, peace, mercy, grace, and compassion He showed while walking this earth, possibly because they haven't witnessed healthy believers living it out.
However, I cannot stand by and watch my "brothers and sisters" shoot hateful comments about other people who ARE created by God! I cannot watch and stand by while my "brothers and sisters" create a separation of who they will or will not care for. Our Creator didn't do it, so what gives us the right to do it? We are nothing without Christ's love and compassion, perhaps we should be living out what we have been taught. (A continuation of a Facebook status)
Perhaps, our struggle is with ourselves? Maybe we have a battle within making us feel inadequate?
The interesting part of God’s command is that we need to love people the way we love ourselves. What if we don’t love our-self enough, which then causes disconnect in our ability to love our neighbor?
God is very clear about who we are in His eyes. We are His beautiful creation which He declared as very good (Genesis 1:31). He loves us so much, that He gave us new life through His Son Jesus and gave us a place in His kingdom (Ephesians 2:4-6). He has made us His children through Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). Finally (not to say this is all He has said, but this post would take forever if I put everything), He says that we are forgiven and nothing can separate us from that (Romans 8:37-39).
In order to love people wholly, we need to be able to love ourselves as God as made us holy. His work of grace is what moves us to love people in grace. His extravagant mercy calls us to share the same mercy.
When we embrace God’s message of complete love for us, then we can exchange the same amount of love for others.
If we find ourselves struggling to love people due to differences in culture, religion, social status, lifestyle, etc. Then, perhaps we need to remember that God loved us despite our culture, religion, social status, lifestyle, etc.
When we can do that, then our love for our neighbor will increase and our desire to live like our Savior will intensify so much that we most likely will lose any form of hate speech, anger, etc. that will hinder our ability to live out the gospel we are called to share to the world.
May we learn to love ourselves the way God loves us in order to love our neighbors the way God loves them.
Peace and blessings friends.