It may seem odd to some that as a Christian I have often wondered about the verse in Matthew 22:39 that says that we are to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” When I read that for the first time my immediate thought was, “What if you don’t love yourself?”
I know Christ is the perfect example for us since He showed His great love by dying on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. But does that mean that I have to die on a cross or step in front of a bus to save someone from being hit?
Those of us that were raised in abusive homes were not given examples of love. Many were not shown what love is or taught how to show love. So as adults why would we not be confused about this loving others as ourselves verse? Many hate themselves!
I asked the Lord about this the other night and He gave me some examples of showing love to others. He did not include dying on a cross or stepping in front of a bus. He brought to mind a few examples from my own life that I would not have connected to “loving others as yourself.”
One example was when I was in Walmart during the summer months and a lady stepped up beside me to look at some similar products that I was looking at. She had on a beautiful summer dress and I just couldn’t help myself, “Oh, I love your dress! It looks so good on you and so comfortable.” I exclaimed. Her face lit up. “That’s showing love” the Lord said.
Another example was helping a neighbor find her little dog that got out of the fence and ran off. “That’s love” the Lord said.
When a lady stepped up beside me in the drug store and mentioned her son had just died I could see the anguish in her eyes and tears filled mine. I asked if I could give her a hug and she let me. “That’s love” the Lord said.
The lady in line ahead of me at the grocery store was short a dollar and was going to put something back. I handed her a dollar. “That’s love” the Lord said.
Yesterday a lady was in line behind me to check out and had 2 items and a heavy baby carrier with her infant asleep inside. I had several items in a basket. I told her to go ahead of me. “That’s love” the Lord said.
The examples continue each day as the little things I do pop up here and there. He’s showing me that we show His love throughout our days by the kind, considerate, and “loving” things we do. Berating someone is not love but a smile to a stranger, a kind word, encouraging someone, stepping up to protect someone, sending a card, calling someone to say happy birthday, cheering at their accomplishment, all is showing love. We don’t have to have what I call BIG love events (stepping in front of a bus) to be examples of Christ’s love in a hurting world. All the “little” things we do and say can make or break someone’s day.
Wow, I guess His example of being love and showing love isn’t so hard to understand after all. Now some of us need to learn how to love ourselves like that.
Blessings to you.