When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment of all is, He replied in Matthew 22 verses 37 to 39 saying:
“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.”
Your main task or mandate as a Christian is to love God with all your heart, followed by loving your neighbor as yourself. In my writing here at Hosea Women International, I always try to show you that God loves you no matter what. I also stress the importance of loving Him too. Now I’d like to talk about the second part of what Jesus said in the above verses, that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. That right there assumes you love yourself. Do you?
You can only love others to the extent that you love yourself. What I mean by that is your love for others starts from how much you love yourself. That’s why you might find someone who just hates you or criticizes all the time. It could be because they don’t love themselves. They criticize because they are self-critical.
The way we talk to people is sometimes a reflection of our self-talk. That person might be so hard on you because they are hard on themselves. That could have been brought on by many factors, never feeling like enough or not being validated at a young age. I’m venturing into psychology and I don’t want to do that but the point I’m trying to make is that to truly love others well you need to love yourself first.
Look at your life right now. If you loved yourself would you be in the relationship you’re in? Would you be spending time with the people you spend time with if you loved yourself? Would you frequent the places you frequent? Would you ingest the substances that you take that you know are damaging your body?
I can’t tell you if you love yourself or not, only you can honestly answer that. Take time to reflect on it and if you find that you don’t love yourself, make a conscious decision to do so. It might not seem like much at the beginning but it will change your life because it will govern your decision making and what you allow into your life. You will then also be able to properly love others. When you love yourself you can then love your neighbor the way you’re supposed to.
Love of others
If you say you love Jesus or you want to love Jesus, the way to do that is by loving others. Our main job as Christians is to love God with all our hearts and to love others. They go hand in hand. You can’t love Jesus and not love people. You might think you do but you don’t.
What does loving others look like? The way I see it, it means loving people, no matter how different or unlike us they are. It means choosing to love people even when we believe they don’t deserve it. It means choosing to love even those who have hurt us or those we are angry with. Pray for God to show you where you’re still hurting and what you’re holding on to without realizing it. Ask Him to reveal to you what is holding you back. I asked this of God and He showed me. Sometimes we think God is making us wait when in fact He’s waiting on us to do something, to realize something or to let go of something. If you can’t let God heal you of your hurt and anger, it will be difficult for Him to effectively use you.
Loving others also means serving people, the way Jesus did. Are you serving those around you well? Love results in other things too. If you love God, yourself and your neighbor it will be effortless to obey and submit to God. God says if you love me you will obey my commands. Obedience is a sign of love. You can’t claim to love God and not be willing to obey. It pleases God when we obey Him. He honors that in ways you never could have imagined. So let’s love God, ourselves and our neighbors.