Sunday, August 23, 2015

Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT): Loving Others as Ourselves

Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT): Loving Others as Ourselves

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

I like what C.S. Lewis has to say about loving our neighbor as ourselves, as difficult as this can be.  In Mere Christianity, Lewis says the following:

“...We must try to feel about [others] as we feel about ourselves - to wish that [he or she] were not bad, to hope that [he or she] may, in this world or another, be cured in fact, to wish [his or her] good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving [others]: wishing [their] good, not feeling fond of [them] nor saying [they are] nice when [they are] not.

“I admit that this means loving people who have nothing lovable about them. But then, has oneself anything loveable about it? You love it simply because it is yourself. God intends us to love all selves in the same way and for the same reason: but He has given us the sum ready worked out in our own case to show us how it works. We have, then, to go on and apply the rule to all the other selves. Perhaps it makes it easier if we remember that that is how He loves us. Not for any nice, attractive qualities we think we have, but just because we are the things called selves.”

Lewis has a unique way of explaining how both God loves us and how we must, in turn, love others.  This is a tall order, especially when the object is a person we find difficult to tolerate, but it is what Christ demands: “A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “ Can we do this of our own volition? No. But the Holy Spirit in us, renewing us each moment, can.

May you all be blessed and encouraged in the love and peace of Christ.