Jesus calls us all to follow Him. He never gives a command that He did not also show us how to live out. In John 13:34-35, Jesus summed up His earthly ministry with a new command and a charge to the disciples to carry on the work He had begun. To simply love one another as He had demonstrated. In fact, Jesus was so confident in the examples He had provided that He knew if the disciples simply carried it out everyone would know they were His.
Throughout His ministry Jesus told those who followed Him to love their neighbors. He showed them who their neighbors were and how to be moved to compassion by their need.
How to love oneself
Before you can love your neighbor as yourself, you have to love yourself. It is often said that “hurt people, hurt people.” To stop this cycle, you must address your own hurts and needs. Understanding God’s grace in your own life and what you were rescued from is essential in communicating and sharing that same grace with others.
The Evangelical Liberal puts it this way, “Much of the time we try to bypass our human reality and jump straight to saint without passing Go, with the result that we either fall flat on our faces or end up kidding ourselves, pretending we’re something we’re not.”
Loving yourself means that you are honest about your shortcomings, your faults, your abilities and your complete and total acceptance by God regardless of your past. It means learning self-care as you dive into the greatest of all commandments.
How to love others
While it is essential to understand, discover and love yourself, there is the risk of becoming lost in the self-help cycle. You cannot stay there, to do so is narcissistic and flies in the face of all that Jesus taught. The truth is that the message isn’t about learning to love yourself, it’s about learning to receive and accept God’s unconditional love for you. We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:10). Once you grasp God’s unconditional love, the natural response becomes the need to share that love with others. Your relationship with God will result in an outpouring of love towards others, the ones Jesus called your neighbors.
Loving your neighbor is recognizing the imago dei, the image of God, lies in all of us.
You are not capable of loving you and being all that there is for you, nor are you capable of being that for another person. You will never be enough for you. Recognizing the power of God and the unconditional love of Jesus in your life and in the life of others produces an overflow of love. Grab onto that and start giving it away. You will never run out.
When you empty yourself, you will find true fulfillment in life. Find out more by watching Enjoy Life.