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Loving My Neighbor HOW?

by Catherine Galbraith

Catherine Galbraith is a junior at Point Loma Nazarene University, and a double major in Accounting and Spanish. She serves on the leadership team at WM’s Point Loma chapter, and is a first-time guest contributor on Know Your Value.

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“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:34-40).

No matter how many times I read this passage about the greatest commandment in the Law–the command to love–I feel like praying, “I’m trying, Lord, I really am!” Come on, girl…remember to love your neighbor! Love your neighbor! Love your neighbor! I’ll think to myself. But wait…what was that last part again? “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Maybe the most difficult part of following Christ’s command to love in this way is that some of us have trouble loving ourselves in the first place. What if I love others in a way that I would like to love myself, but I continue to treat myself poorly or as undeserving of love?

Would I tell my neighbor that she’s not looking so great today? Would I demand that my neighbor work overtime constantly or workout obsessively? Would I purposely starve her? Would I encourage my neighbor to eat food, take drugs, get wasted, or hookup with someone to help her avoid her emotions?

Many of us, myself included, may forget or ignore the “as yourself” part of the Golden Rule, and instead put our efforts into pleasing others. We lack a healthy relationship with ourselves but try to love others anyway, and then we end up feeling exhausted and unappreciated. Jesus didn’t say “as yourself” on accident when he was speaking of the greatest commandment, so let’s promise to stop ignoring it! If we love God above all and learn to both love and respect ourselves, then not only will we be able to love others, but we will have the energy to continue to do so as well!

Do you ever feel like you love others much better than you love yourself? Can you think of someone whose example may influenced to do so? What actions can you take (or let go of) to start showing your self some love?

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