Love As God Loves
Written by Felicia McKnight
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
God has given us two commandments in the New Testament. Last week we discussed the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:37-38) The second part of that commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)
In order to know how to love your neighbor you first have to explore and master loving yourself. If I were to ask you to make a list of what you like about yourself and what you dislike about yourself what would you list? Which side would be greater, the likes or the dislikes? It’s amazing how we can sit down to complete a task like this and many will find all the negative things wrong verses the positive things that are right. We all have flaws and quirks and areas we need to work on, but we also have some great things about us. We all have been through some things and done some things we are ashamed of, but we also have some amazing things to brag about.
Sometimes that list of negatives can cause us to look down on ourselves and make us feel less than who we really are. The enemy will cause us to dislike ourselves when our mind goes to that negative place. The good news is “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). When Jesus died on the cross as each nail was hammered so was your guilt and shame. God is a forgiving God that has wiped away all of your sins and remembers them no more when you receive His forgiveness. If God can forgive you then you have no choice but to forgive yourself and let go of all guilt and shame. When you look at the negatives remember that God said in His word that you are the apple of His eye. If God thinks this about you, then surely you can think it of yourself. (Zechariah 2:8) I encourage you in your quiet time today to reflect on yourself and dwell on the amazing, wonderful, person that you are. Love on and encourage yourself. Leave a love note for yourself as a reminder that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Loving yourself is to see yourself as God sees you. When you see yourself as God sees you, then you are able to establish loving your neighbor as yourself. You love your neighbor as yourself by seeing them as God sees all of us and loves all of us.
Because of our human nature loving your neighbor has its challenges. When you love as God loves you have to be able to see people for who they really are the good and the bad? God loved us while we were yet still sinners. (Romans 5:8) Despite the bad, can you love them anyway? Our neighbors will hurt us from time to time and not respond to us in a loving way, but how many times have we hurt and disappointed God? He still loves us anyway. He still forgives us anyhow. Can you still love your neighbor in spite of?
Love is not always challenging and at times it can be very easy to love thy neighbor. It is a blessing to have loving, caring individuals in our life who show love to us. These are the special people that we should always cherish and let them know from time to time how much they are appreciated.
Happy love month! Be Blessed and Encouraged!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the greatest gift, LOVE. Thank you for choosing us and loving us first. Strengthen us to look beyond our faults and to love ourselves as you love us. As we love our selves more and more strengthen us to love our neighbors as you desire us to love them. Give us the strength to operate in a place of obedience and LOVE. In Jesus Name. Amen