Learning to Love My Neighbor by Loving Me First

Matthew 22_39The Bible tells me in Matthew 22:39 that I am supposed to love my neighbor as myself but I have a confession. I am not sure if I should love my neighbor the way that I love myself. My love has been conditional and I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind. What about you? Can you remember the last time that you didn’t quite reach your goal? Were you kind and patient or were you a little rough? Did you offer yourself some grace or did you remind yourself of similar failures? 1 Corinthians 13 gives us some help on how to show love not only to our neighbors but to ourselves. It teaches us how to receive and give unconditional love.

Unconditional love is different from the type of love that we see on a daily basis in the media. It is that kind of love that keeps giving even when it’s challenging. It is the kind of love that keeps giving even when we have made mistakes. It is the kind of love that keeps giving despite our history that seems to be stuck on repeat in the worst chapter of our lives. I have another confession. For years I thought that I had to learn to love my neighbor better but what I am learning is that I need to learn to love me better — first.

If we can learn to love ourselves unconditionally, it will be easier to love our neighbor as ourselves. We will learn to be patient and kind. We will learn to not envy, be boastful, or behave rudely. We will learn to not seek out our own agenda, easily become provoked, and not keep record of past wrongs. We will learn to not rejoice in wrong doing but learn to rejoice in truth. We will be able to bear all things, believe all things, and endure all things because we will accept where our True Strength lies. Our strength is in God. We will know that Love never fails because He never fails.

In the next few weeks, I plan to share with you how the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13) is a reminder of how God expects us to love ourselves so that we can love our neighbors in the same way. This is a journey that I don’t want to take alone so I invite you to join me. Take notes and ask questions. Pray and ask God to show you how to love yourself more unconditionally. I also invite you to tell your neighbor. Let’s learn how to love as Jesus commands.

Don’t be afraid to leave a comment. You might encourage your neighbor 🙂


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