Thursday, July 4, 2013

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Loving people is the second greatest commandment that Jesus left us with. The apostle Paul describes our responsibility to love our fellowman as a debt that is never satisfied in Romans 13:8. We truly do prove our love for God by loving others.

But, Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves. What does that mean?

C.S. Lewis reveals that Jesus was teaching us something very profound when he said those words.

“I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man's actions but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. ...I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life -- namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.” 
 C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Disappointment in our own actions proves we love ourselves. Saying, "I hate myself" is really admitting "I love myself, but I hate what I did." How? Because we realize that we are better than that. In the end we want to be good. 

Therefore, we may hate the behaviors of others, but Jesus said we should forgive them anyway and go on loving them, believing that they can do better. They are valuable creations of God.

Just as we discipline ourselves to change for the good, our discipline of others should have the same motivation. It must include love and forgiveness, even if the correction is severe. We must love our neighbor as ourselves.