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. 


  1. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18... James this verse really spoke to me as well in reading your post about loving people... As Pastor's God has entrusted in us to "Love the broken people in our congregations, but what is sad is we have isolated the brokenhearted. Separated and classified them as the sinful... It starts with me not just as a Pastor, but as a "Christian" to love our neighbor. We are lazy in our love for others that's why its easier to isolate and forget about them. Your right when you said we must love our neighbor...the value of their heart is unmeasurable so lets stop the hate and just "love".

    moving forward in His Love - Brian Gilbert

  2. Brian, thanks for commenting and sharing Psalm 34:18. Lately, I have been hearing on the radio so many positive reports about the community outpouring of love in Arizona for the families of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives in the Yarnell Hill Fire. But, the only thing I was hearing about the faith community concerned the Westboro Baptist Church and their hate declarations. They actually said the firefighters were burning in hell. What a horrible response from a "church."

    One of those firefighters grew up attending Chino Valley Word of Life Assembly of God - Wade Parker. I think the Church ought to be the leader in compassionate response when these kinds of tragedies occur. Like you said, let's not be lazy in our love. God bless you!