From birth all of us love ourselves. We think of our own needs before others. We want what will make us happy with very little concern for the people around us or the situational circumstances. We love ourselves. So when Jesus tells us that the second greatest command is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31), we are in for trouble.
I can’t help but think of my almost 12 week old daughter when reading this passage. When she is hungry she doesn’t care that the bottle needs to be warmed, her diaper needs to be changed, or the fact that mommy can’t drive and feed her at the same time. She loves herself (even though she hasn’t been taught to do this) and could careless about the circumstances.
So if we are to love our neighbors as if they are ourselves, we are to care for them as if they are us. This isn’t natural for us. We want to take care of me, myself, and I before anything. Becoming a wife taught me that my husband and his needs had to be placed before mine. This was hard at first and I have to consciencely decide to put Kyle first daily. Becoming a mom taught me about this even further because my daughter can do nothing for herself, unlike my husband. I must feed her before myself, bath her before myself, dress, soothe, and care for her before me. Even as I have been writing this I have stopped several times to love and care for Hannah.
Jesus says we should love our neighbors as ourselves. The word neighbor does not mean the people who live on either side of you or in your neighborhood only. Neighbor pretty much means any person you encounter during the day. We are to love others, not just our next door neighbors, the way we love ourselves. Think about it! Love everyone the way you love yourself! That’s crazy hard!!!
So today, and each day moving forward, I want God to teach me how to love others the way I naturally love myself. Putting them before myself. Caring for their needs, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, before my own.