What does it mean to "love your neighbor as yourself”?
The statement implies a comparison. We love our neighbor the same way or to the same degree that we love ourselves.
What does it mean to love ourselves?
If we truly love ourselves, we would do what is in our best interest, all the time. We’d eat the right foods, get enough exercise to maintain optimal health, get the proper amount of rest. Our careers would have us doing what we love to do even if the pay isn’t that great. We’d be wise in how we handle our money. Our friendships would be healthy for us, and we would know when to say “no.” We wouldn’t hold grudges, and we wouldn’t play favorites. Our driving habits would make allowances for other drivers to make mistakes without our becoming upset with them, and we would take our time and enjoy the scenery.
If we truly love ourselves, we would recognize that we can’t do it all on our own. We’d ask for help from others, and ask for help from God. We’d allow the One who has known us since the beginning of time to continue to work in our lives. And we’d be lavish in our thanksgiving and praise to God for all He does for us.
If we truly love ourselves, we would know how to love others. We would do for them what is in their best interest. We’d encourage them to maintain optimal health, and not complain when their careers are something they love to do, even though it might not pay as well as we would like. We would respect their choice to refuse us, and not be concerned if they held a grudge or were tempted to play favorites. And we’d realize that the mistake the other driver made was because they were likely enjoying the scenery.
We’d tell others that it’s ok that they can’t do it all by themselves, and offer help when we see they need it. We would allow them to allow God to change them, and join them in lavishing God with thanksgiving and praise.
But since we fall short in loving ourselves, we fall short in loving our neighbor. God is the only one who can perfectly love us. Let us follow Jesus, God’s perfect example of perfect love, so that we can love ourselves more, and in turn love our neighbors better.