I can’t count how many times I’ve heard (and said) the phrase “I’ve lost my faith in humanity”. It seems we all learn at one point or another in our lives the sad reality that people aren’t who we think they are–or rather, who we want them to be.
So if someone told you it was a law to love everyone else around you the same way you loved yourself, would you threaten to leave the country like the liberals did during the last election?
Well, I hate to break it to you (not really, I’m happy to be the one to let you know that it is an actual law…), but that’s something you should be doing.
God says in the Bible that His greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
In the Bible, neighbor means everyone around you (coworkers, friends, family, strangers on the train, bosses, acquaintances, people at the checkout counter, online communities, etc) not just the people in the house next to you…
Are you shocked? Disappointed? Even Christians have a tough time with this one. They said a poll out there estimated that about 25% of Christians are holding a grudge against someone right now that they can’t forgive. That’s certainly not an example of someone who is showing love towards their neighbor which is equivalent towards the type of love they would show themselves.
In a world where a friend ignoring a text, an acquaintance updating a Facebook status, a family member giving last minute notice to a Christmas party, a boss misinterpreting an email, a spouse forgetting to take out the trash, a child throwing a tantrum, a longer than usual wait at the drive-thru or even a political tweet by a stranger can send anyone over the edge, I find myself wondering what exactly it would take for people to learn to put each other first.
If we loved others the way we loved ourselves, it would be easy to extinguish selfishness in America, because if people were more prone to look out for others, why would we need to constantly look out for ourselves? But the truth is that’s not the way society works.
Whitney Houston’s popular song “Greatest Love of All” rings a lollipop-sweet feeling mixed with superhero strength in its lyrics:
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Love of all is happening to me
I found the greatest
Love of all inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
The “prom queen of soul” got it right in one sense–learning to love yourself is definitely easy to achieve… I mean it’s built in our nature. We want to survive. We have to love ourselves to a certain extent to protect ourselves from harm, whether it’s our ego or our bodies. So all those times you cried over a breakup and everyone told you you deserved better, but you said you still loved him, and they told you you were weak or needed to gain some respect or love for yourself, you already had it in you. You were hurt or upset, weren’t you? Well those feelings were probably born from the love you had for yourself. If you didn’t love yourself a little then you might not feel anything at all.
What Whitney Houston got wrong was the definition of the greatest love though. Self-love is not the greatest love. If it’s easy it can’t be the greatest. Haven’t you ever heard that the greatest things in life aren’t easy? It’s true. The greatest love is loving God, and in order to love God with all your heart you have to follow His commandments, which take a lot of self-discipline and courage and determination, and loving your neighbor as you love yourself, well I encourage you to try it for one just one week..