Sunday, September 6: Living love by loving your neighbor as yourself

August 21, 2020 by Greg Allen-Pickett

Romans 13:8-10

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Love your neighbor as yourself has a double meaning that was just revealed to me a few years ago. I’ve always focused on the “love your neighbor” part of this command. A couple of years ago, a colleague of mine pointed out that this is also a commandment to love ourselves. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot love our neighbors. Self-deprecation and believing that we are not worthy is a detriment to living out our faith. The Bible clearly reminds us that God loves us no matter what; we are beloved children of God, fearfully and wonderfully made. So we are called to love ourselves, so that in turn we may be able to love others. A reminder of the call to love oneself is an important part of this passage to be explored.

I also like the way that Paul demonstrates that so many other commandments can be summarized by the command to love your neighbor as yourself. Out of this commandment should also spring generosity; one way to demonstrate love for neighbor is by giving to support your neighbors in need through your church and other local ministries and non-profits.