Love the golden law for us as believers. Love is the summation of the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:40). When we love, we are being just like God because God is love (1 John 4:8). We cannot claim to love God if we do not love the humans that live around us (1 John 4:20).
The Bible, however, gives us a standard by which we must love in Matthew 22:39: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” This means that we should not only show people love but we must love them just the way we love ourselves. On a normal day, you will not do anything to hurt yourself and that’s because you love yourself (Ephesians 5:29).
This may sound difficult to you. That’s normal! It is only natural for human beings to love themselves more than others. This is right to us, but it is not right in God’s sight. God wants us to live a selfless life, not a selfish life.
We will only be able to love our neighbour as ourselves when we allow the love of Christ into our hearts. The love of God is selfless, relentless and unending. God’s love is very patient and forgiving. Jesus came to the world to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). This is the highest display of love any man can ever show. When we have this love in our hearts, it will not be difficult for us to love people just the way we love ourselves.
Who Is My Neighbour?
This was the question a certain man asked Jesus after he commanded us to love our neighbour as ourselves (Luke 10:36). The human perspective of the word “neighbour” is someone who lives next door or someone who is in proximity to a person.
On the other hand, the Biblical definition of the word “neighbour” is quite different from this. According to the Bible, any human being who you can be of help to in any way is your neighbour (Luke 10:29-37). In other words, every human being is your neighbour!
Funny right? However, this is God’s perspective of things. We can all be of help to each other in some way even if we know each other or not. How wonderful it will be if we can consider each other as neighbours without any prejudice of race, colour, nationality or language.
Before God, we are all created in his image and we all mean so much to him. God is grieved when you refuse a person help although you can help that person. Because that person is created in God’s image, God interprets your refusal to help as if it was against him directly (Matthew 25: 41-45).
Simply put, God wants us to go out into the world and show everyone we meet love. He wants us to put a smile on the faces of people. He wants us to be of help to people who may never be able to repay us. We should be the arms and feet of Jesus to reach the people who are hurting in our world today.
How Can I Love My Neighbour As Myself?
Now that you know who your neighbour is, it’s time to show them, love, as you show yourself. Think of whatever you will do to take care of yourself. These are the things you should be doing for people around you too. Let’s consider a few ways we can show our neighbours love in the same way we love ourselves:
By Praying For Them
One of the highest demonstrations of love for a person is to pray for them. To show us how to love our enemies, Jesus asked us to pray for them (Matthew 5:44). Before Jesus left the world, he showed his love to the disciples by praying for them (John 17). Prayer is a great way to reach out to people who are far away from you. Your prayers can do so much in your absence than your presence can do.
To show people, love, we should pray for them intentionally. Intercession is at the very heart of the Christian life (1 Timothy 2:1). You don’t have to know a person before you pray for them. Abraham took up the duty of intercession for the nation of Sodom and Gomorrah even though he wasn’t living there at all. This is a true display of the love of Christ.
Make it your duty also to pray for people, families, communities and nations that have nothing to do with you. This is one great way of loving your neighbour as yourself.
By Giving To Them
If you truly love a person, you will be happy to give your resources to them without expecting a reward back. God loved us so much that he gave Jesus to come and die for us (John 3:16). If you give to people who know you alone, you have not fulfilled the Biblical law of loving your neighbour as yourself.
It is good to be prudent and meticulous in the management of your resources. However, it is also good to go out of your way once in a while to give something to someone in need. It could be money, food, clothes, shelter, your time or a job. You can also separate a certain percentage of your finances to help the needy, less privileged and orphans. When you do this, your reward will be great in heaven and on earth.
Don’t spend your money on yourself alone. God wants you to be a channel through which resources can flow and not a reservoir of resources.
As you go out to perform your daily activities, be on the lookout for at least one person that God can use you to bless. Don’t let a day pass by without you being a blessing to someone in some way. You don’t have to do something big to be a blessing. It could be as little as a prayer, a word of encouragement or a compliment.
In all you do, love your neighbour as yourself!
King James Version (KJV)
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
New International Version (NIV)
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
New American Bible (NASB)
“The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’”