“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1st John 4:19)
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:39)
Before you can love your neighbor you must be able to understand what it means to love yourself. “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” (Eph. 5:29)
And then, as the Almighty does in many ways, we are commanded to die to self, so we are to love ourselves first, or perhaps better said, to understand what it means to not hate ourself, and then to die to self while loving our neighbor. Want to guess why it’s necessary to pray for Spiritual discernment?
Many people would simply infer that we are to be polite to all that we meet, to be kind whenever possible, and if the opportunity presents itself and we are able to, to be as what has commonly been referred to as the good Samaritan. This love, in the minds of many who profess Jesus Christ as Lord has sadly melted down, if you will, to a singular verse. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18)
And of course, as Satan always has, he has utilized this to his advantage and today love means never rebuking, never judging, never reproving or correcting. In fact, never even give your opinion on the lifestyle of your neighbor, save of course in private company, with those who agree with the deception they have also fallen into.
It took a few decades to achieve, his fellow fallen angels who can appear as ministers of righteousness had to be placed carefully in the proper places and have not only corrupted the hearts of many individuals, but has destroyed the foundations of many denominations, higher places of learning and what we call today, faith-based organizations.
The hearts of many, my brothers and sisters, has grown cold.
“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7)
But the reason we love Him because He first loved us? “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
If you love them, you will hear 2nd Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
If you love them you will hear, “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.” (Luke 6:32)
If you love them as we are to love our neighbor you will speak to them about the One who gave His life for them, the One who became sin for them, who willingly took the wrath of God for them, who sacrificed Himself so they could have eternal life. And if they refuse the invitation, you will love them enough to warn them of the consequences of that refusal. Our Lord was not always what people would consider polite my friends, but He was the kindest person who ever walked this earth.
Kindness is always shown in speaking the truths of the Scriptures, in offering the truths of the Word of God, acts of true kindness can never be done by those who do not profess and know Jesus Christ as their Savior, they are no more than good deeds done, and here you must hear Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
When we die to self we realize the truth of how to love our neighbor, because we now know a love that is indescribable, that will know no end, and we have no greater desire than to love our neighbor as we are loved.
The complete revealing of acceptance or denial of Him who first loved us, that is how we love our neighbor as ourselves.