The true meaning of “loving your neighbour as yourself”

Matthew 22:37-39

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’* 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’* 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

I have had some clarity with respect to verse 39. “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Jesus points out here that this second greatest commmandment is “like” the first.. “Love your God with all your heart….”. Loving our fellow man as we love ourselves is like loving God…. that part is pretty obvious and understood by most believers. What is missed here and what I have missed until recently is, the importance of “loving yourself”. Not to be confused with selfishness (the exact opposite).

Loving oursleves means, we need to first know who we are. (Not head knowledge, but true awareness). Since God’s word tells us that the Holy Spirit lives inside us, loving myself takes on a whole new meaning. Loving ourselves not only means loving what God has created, but beyond that, loving God’s Spirit, who is God, and lives in us.

What this implies, is that loving our neighbour means we love ourselves equally. Without loving ourselves we cannot truly love our neighbour..

Balancing love of self with love for others, in my opinion, is the ideal state of equilibrium that God intended. Being out of balance on either side introduces both internal and external tension.

Gal 6:2      Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
Gal 6:5      For each one will bear his own load.

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