Uncovering the Truth: The True Meaning of the Ultimate Commandment to Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself
Updated: Jan 20
I have always wondered what it means to love someone how you love yourself because everyone has different concepts of love. For example, I think that kindness is honesty, but another person might think that kindness is politeness. The Bible even says that we will have different values and that we should respect them (Romans 14). So, why should we love others the way we want to be loved if other people want to be loved according to their definition of love?
In a recent Bible study of Matthew 23, I realized that “love thy neighbor as thyself” means to not be hypocritical, which is judging others like you are better than others.
Verses 1-8 explain how God want us to treat each other. God does not want us to discourage people from doing His will. Verse 4 says that the Pharisees and scribes were demanding that people do horrendous things as obedience to God’s law so that the Pharisees and scribes were harming them. These demands prevented the people from doing God’s will because Jesus says not to do what they say (Matthew 23:3).
Matthew 24:12 says that when we behave unfairly like the Pharisees and scribes, who demanded many things to enter into heaven, but never helped people achieve these requirements, then love dies. From Matthew 22:39, God commands us to love each other. With this commandment, we should not make people do things in the name of God that we, ourselves, would not do because we think that we are better.
Rather, God wants us to treat each other equally as brothers and sisters in Christ, not where one is a master because God is our master (Matthew 23:8). Everyone sins and does not love others at some point in their life. God does not place heavy burdens on us (Matthew 11:28-30)
and expect us to do the impossible; God only wants us to forgive and have mercy to relieve the oppressed, as Isaiah 1:17 by making people free heirs of God (Galatians 4). Having mercy means teaching people with gentleness when they do something wrong (Galatians 6:1) so that we do not act like we should be loved more because we are better.
By forgiving and being merciful, we become humble and acknowledge that we are equally sinful. In this way, we love equally because we do God’s commands to others the same way that they do for us.