Love your neighbour. Whether you’re familiar with the Bible or not, you’ve probably heard this phrase from Leviticus 19:18, and comes right after we read that we shouldn’t seek revenge or hold grudge against people.
What Neighbour Truly Means?
When we think about our neighbors, in the literal sense, we think it’s someone who actually lives next door to us. In order to know what neighbor truly means, we have to go back to the original Hebrew text of Leviticus 19:18. The word for neighbour is plesion, and it means friend or any other person. Basically, we’re supposed to love everyone!
- The argumentative family member
- The friendly man at the grocery store
- The frustrating lady down the street
- The sweet child in another country
- The person who voted differently than you
That’s quite a lofty command, isn’t it? But, it’s essential—so much so that Jesus made it the second most important command!
“Teacher, which command in the law is the most important?” Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39 NCV
It’s quite a challenging command, and even feels a bit unattainable. It might appear more realistic if the verse said, “Hey, love your neighbour when they’re being nice to you and when everything is going great. But if they upset you or do something to annoy you, then you don’t have to love them. You get a pass.” But Jesus was pretty clear: we should love our neighbours all the time.
How do we actually love our neighbours?
We love God first and ourselves second. Loving God first means that we receive His love for us, because He loved us first. God’s love for us is unconditional. It’s hard to fathom that kind of love and even harder to display. That’s probably why we often sink to the level of loving other people only when it feels convenient. Loving ourselves isn’t some type of self-absorbed love. Loving ourselves means we see our value because Jesus did—enough to die on the cross for us! Learning to love ourselves because of the value we have in Jesus will help us love our neighbours.
When we love our neighbours, we are being the hands and feet of Jesus.
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