How to 'Love Your Neighbor As Yourself' - Bible Meaning of Mark 12:31
For all of us who lived the Christian faith, we have definitely heard the phrase “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself.” But what does it really mean to love your neighbor as yourself? Do we truly understand the way Jesus Christ intended?
Learn more about this famous Bible phrase and the greatest commandments of Jesus.
Love Thy Neighbor Bible Verses
Love Your Neighbor As Yourself is the second great commandment of Jesus. It immediately follows His commandment of loving God with all your heart, mind and soul. Following this commandment is the key Jesus Christ gave us for loving others as God loves us.
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:24)
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:1-2)
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other commands there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9)
Who is Our Neighbor?
A Pharisee once tried to test Jesus after asking Him what the greatest of the commandment was. The Pharisee asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Instead of giving a direct answer, Jesus Christ turned the question on the Pharisee by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan.
The parable of the Good Samaritan tells the story of a man who was attacked by robbers on the road to Jericho. He was stripped of his clothes, beaten, and was left for dead. Soon after, a priest was passing by the same road and when he saw the man, he went to the other side of the road and continued on his way. A Levite then passed by, and he too moved to the other side of the road when he saw the man. But a Samaritan came by and when he saw the man, he took pity on him, poured oil and wine on his wounds, carried him on his donkey and brought him to an inn and took care of him there. The following day he gave the innkeeper two denarii and asked him to look after the man, adding that when he returns, he will compensate the innkeeper for any extra expense he may have. After telling the story Jesus asked the Pharisee which he thought among the three was a neighbor to the man who was robbed to which the Pharisee replied, “The man who showed mercy.” Jesus then told the Pharisee to go and do likewise.
In Jesus’ commandment, He taught us that it is not about asking who our neighbor is. Rather, it is about our own willingness to be a neighbor ready to love. It is obvious in the parable of the Good Samaritan that our neighbor can even be a complete stranger who we can expect nothing from in return. But, following the commandment of Christ means being a neighbor to everyone, and most importantly it is about us being that good neighbor. It starts with ourselves.
How to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
When Christ was asked what the greatest of all the commandments was, it was not asked in earnest by someone who sincerely wanted to know. Rather, it was asked by someone who considered himself to be an expert in the law of the prophets, who only wanted to test Jesus.
And so with Christ’s answer of his great commandments of love, we can truly see His infinite grace and wisdom, as well as God’s infinite mercy which is the key to our salvation. By loving our neighbor as ourselves, Christ has made it impossible for us to fail because we are very good at taking care of ourselves. We want what is best for us and by making our own selves as the benchmark of how we should love others, Christ has shown us how to truly love our neighbor.
Another important teaching in loving our neighbor as ourselves is that we realize that we should not wait for when we feel loved before we start to love others. We do not have to wait until we feel that we have a surplus of self-love before we give it away to our neighbors. The commandment made it perfectly clear: love your neighbor exactly as you love yourself. No more and no less.
The Great Commandments of Jesus
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments”
These are the great commandments of Jesus. Christ gave us two commandments that encapsulate all the laws and commands previously mentioned in the Old Testament. The commandments as told by the prophets is about our bond with God and our fellow men.
Jesus first teaches us that the greatest of all commandments is to love God with our whole being because God is the foundation of love. It is only by loving God that we truly learn how to love. Right away Christ follows it up with loving your neighbor as yourself because once we put God at the center of our love, we learn how it is to genuinely do the same for our neighbors.
Prayer to Love Your Neighbor
Dearest Lord, may I be a blessing to my neighbors. Not just to those who are close to me but also to those with who I communicate even if they are far away. May I be a good Samaritan to someone today. Move me in compassion that I become a bearer of goodwill towards my brothers. Consume my soul with kindness and cast away all negative notions.
Lord give me the strength to live by Your commandment of love. Guide me through Christ, for through Christ all things are possible. May I not close my heart to those who are in need. May I share the blessings I received from You with those who ask for it.
May I never lose sight of how to love. May Christ renew me each time I lose sight of His commandment of love and bring me back to the path He has prepared for me. May the people I meet on this path become opportunities for me to live the teachings of Christ.
Lord, I ask that you open my heart to receive genuine love for Your commandments. Teach me, Lord, to love You first above all else, and to love my neighbors as I love myself. May I always keep sight of the very core of your commandment of love. Allow me to desire the best for my neighbors just as I desire the best for myself. Grant them peace of mind, success in their endeavors, and happiness in seeking Your love. May I do everything with love. May it be the driving force for my obedience to the Commandments.
Image Credits: © Getty Images/Tinnakorn Jorruang
Article by Pearl Dy