“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
A familiar phrase, but how does one accomplish the feat? One of the lawyers posing the question to Jesus had questions about just who his neighbor might be. An interesting enough question and a rather more comprehensive answer than the person hoped for.
It would seem reasonable to believe that to love our neighbor as ourselves we need a healthy dose of self-love. Before a person can pour out love, they must first possess it. You cannot give what you do not have. So, loving and respecting ourselves is not a selfish evil. It is a base from which to give.
But there is one more element necessary to complete the equation. We must understand how we wish to be treated. It sounds easy enough, but in fact may be the more difficult of the two propositions.
Do we wish people to defer to us or be themselves? Should people be able to disagree with you? Should people tell you the truth, or hide it from you? Should you always be at the front of the line? Should your cause always be everyone’s concern?
The point I am trying to make here is do we want fairness, equality, truth, and liberty to be our best self, and are we willing to provide the same treatment to all others. Because this is an all or nothing proposition. If we don’t treat everyone equally, then we admit some people must have preferential treatment and… there goes the neighborhood.
Everyone is entitled to receive love as we love ourselves. There are no tribes, social clans, races, genders or religions to be singled out for such treatment at the expense of others.
Speak the truth in love, go the second mile, bear another’s burden and so fulfill the law of grace and love.