‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.
I find Mark 12:30–31 so challenging. Here, we are handed on a silver platter, the greatest of all the commandments. This is the focal point of our faith. If we miss everything else, here’s two statements that summarise it all. Love God with everything you have. Love your neighbour as you love yourself.
It’s the idea of loving others in the way that we love ourselves that I find most confronting. We’ve probably all heard various teachings on this. Perhaps it’s a challenge to make sure we take care of ourselves, because we can only take care of others as much as we can take care of ourselves. Perhaps it’s the challenge to consider others’ needs, not just our own, in any given circumstance.
I was challenged last year to articulate how I love myself. In the end, I came up with the idea that I want to listen to myself kindly, believe myself, and act accordingly. This, then, was challenged as an application to others. To listen kindly, to believe, and to act accordingly.
It was an interesting exercise that later extended to add the consideration that when I do something that is good for me, I don’t owe myself anything. There is never an IOU between me and me. Perhaps this is part of how we love others as we love ourselves. In a way that is without debt to them.
How would you articulate how you love yourself? How does that apply to how you love others?
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