Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

  1. What does it mean to love self?
    • Fill the human desire for wants and needs? or
    • Fill the God created capacity for godlikeness. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to become like Christ, have the character of Christ, to become spiritually mature. So to love self means to become like Christ, godlikeness. That will fill the capacity for godlikeness and best for you.
  2. Leviticus 19.9-18, 33-37 is the basis for the statement “love your neighbor as yourself” found in Mat 22.37-40. Luke 10.27 is the good Samaritan story. Rom 13.8-10; Gal 5.13-15; James 2.8, and the application in Gal 6.10.
    • The phrase “love your neighbor as yourself” is a way of concluding or summarizing each section of this Lev 19 passage.
      • Lev 19.1-8, begins toward God, be holy. That is the best you can do for yourself.
      • Lev 19.9-18, toward people, your neighbor.
      • Lev 19.19-32, life in contrast to the pagan Canaanites. This does not promote holiness or help you or your neighbor.
      • Lev 19.33-37, toward people, your neighbor, especially aliens.
    • So, this passage summarizes loving neighbor as self.
  3. The passages that quote Lev 19.18 all refer to the Mosaic Law (Mt 19.18-19; 22.39; Mk 12.29-34; Lk 10.25-37; Rom 13.9-10; Gal 5.14; James 2.8-11; Matthew 5.43 is partial quote or allusion). The Law of Moses is the broad background and frame of reference for the NT commands. The Mosaic Law states how Israel, the priest nation, should live with God and people. The ML commands legal justice so that the nation can live in freedom and responsibility to fulfill her national priesthood. The fact that you do not rob your neighbor, or commit adultery, or murder, or covet means that others are protected from your interference in their freedom and legal rights. When they are protected they are free to carry out their God given responsibility.
    • Lev 19.9-10, leave some food for needy.
    • Lev 19.11, protect private property of others, do not cheat, lie.
    • Lev 19.12, do not perjure yourself.
    • Lev 19.13, give freedom, pay what you owe. Do not oppress others, rob them from what they have earned.
    • Lev 19.14, Be aware of the handicaps and make allowances for them. Do not take advantage of the handicapped, the deaf and blind.
    • Lev 19.15, Be objective in decisions. Use facts. Do not be partial and subjective.
    • Lev 19.16, Control the tongue. Give freedom to others. Do not criticize, slander, or hinders others.
    • Lev 19.17, You may protect your legal rights within limits. Think God’s good for neighbors. Do not hate.
    • Lev 19.18, Leave trouble makers in God’s hands. Do not take revenge or hold a grudge.
    • Lev 19.18, Love instead of hate. Wish good for another.
    • Lev 19.33, Treat the alien or stranger the same as the native. Do not oppress them or take advantage of them.
  4. Leviticus “love your neighbor as yourself” means that individuals are to give justice to all (fair treatment of others).
    • The clause “love your neighbor as yourself” summarizes the whole section and gives us the objective perspective about how mankind ought to love self and therefore others. For example, be helpful to those in genuine need, do not interfere, do not slander, practice justice, give freedom, leave trouble to God to sort out.
    • “I am the Lord” means: The Lord is the authority and the Lord has your best in mind and your neighbor’s best in mind. Loving your neighbor is a part of practical holiness. Loving your neighbor is part of filling the capacity of Christ likeness toward people around us.
  5. Love your neighbor is demonstrated by the good Samaritan story. The neighbor is a person near you, with legitimate need, and you can help (Luke 10.25-37).
  6. If “love you neighbor as yourself” means to fill the human capacity for wants and needs, then Jesus and Paul did not do it. So, we can conclude that this is not the meaning of “love your neighbor as yourself.” Note: This does not forbid filling the human capacity for wants and needs. Many times believers will do this and should do this, but that is not the standard for “love your neighbor.”
    • Matt 19.20-22. Jesus denied him money, wealth, resources when he wanted them.
    • Matt 15.1-14, especially 15.12. Religious arrogance of the Pharisees demanded attention, praise, recognition. Jesus did not give this to them. In fact, he offended them.
    • John 11. Lazarus was sick and dying. Jesus did not remove the grief, pain, and sadness caused to him and his family by healing him at that time. He knew all about it and held back.
    • Acts 1.6-7. The apostles were curious about the future. Jesus applied the need to know policy. They did not need to know. Jesus did not satisfy their desire.
    • Acts 15.36-41. Paul said no to the request of Barnabas. Paul in effect “rejected” John Mark at this time.
  7. How does God want man to love himself? Another way of saying this is “How should man think toward himself and do for himself?”
    • We accept ourselves as new creatures in Christ with new capacity, relationship, and life (winners) (2 Coir 5.16-17; Gal 3.28-29; Rom 8.31-32; 2 Cor 8.9; 1 Pet 2.9).
    • We practice humility (realistic view of self as creatures) (Rom 12.3,16; Phil 2.3).
    • We have confidence to serve God (realistic view of self in Christ, confidence in Lord no matter how we may see ourselves in life) (Phil 1.21; 4.13).
    • We control ourselves (self discipline) (1 Cor 9.24-27; 2 Cor 10.3-5).
    • We supply and protect ourselves for growth, so that we can grow to person God has designed, reach our individual potential (Eph 5.29, refers to body and probably by interpretation in the context refers to the physical first then the whole person).   [Nourish ektrephw, (ek from source, trephw to feed, nourish, support, provide with food bring up, train) to nourish, feed, bring up. cherish thalpw means lit. to keep warm, fig. to comfort, cherish and comes to mean protective care so can grow.]
    • We promote or give ourselves to God’s will (Rom 12.1-2; Phil 1.20-21).
  8. Two guidelines to help “love self” and then “love your neighbor as yourself.”
    • From the love oneself perspective, fulfill the God created capacity for godlikeness within yourself.  Think about yourself as the new creatures in Christ that you are; practice humility, have confidence to serve, discipline self, supply and protect self for spiritual growth, promote God’s will in self. Then think of other people the same way. Think toward others the way you want God to think toward you. Act toward others the way that you want God to act toward you.
    • From the ML broad context: Practice justice, be objective (facts, truth), give freedom, leave trouble to God to sort out, forget past and move ahead.
  9. The study of godly love reinforces the meaning that we have found in other studies. It means to think, speak, and act toward people like God does from His character and standards.