Why do we struggle with loving our neighbor as we love ourselves?
The first reason why we struggle to love our neighbor is obvious, we don’t have the right view of God. We struggle to love horizontally because we struggle to love vertically. We haven’t truly grasped what it means to love God with everything that we are because we haven’t fully accepted everything that God claims to be. If you’re anything like me, you find yourself making excuses as to why God doesn’t get the best, the first, and the primary focus. After all, He as the problem, not us… right?
To love God with everything that we are is to admit that we have the problem. We have the sin issue. We have the inadequacy. We are primarily to blame for our suffering. Loving God, at the core, is to take responsibility for ourselves while embracing the right view of God. Remember, it was in the context of the Old Covenant that the question was asked, “What is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36). The law brings wrath, condemnation, and death (Rom. 4:15; 7:10; 2 Cor. 3). The law relentlessly points out our failures. It is in perspective of the Law that we discover our need for grace, salvation, and mercy from a Holy and Righteous God. The reason why the Law points out our failures is because it is holy, given to us by a Holy God (Rom. 7:1-12). We are the man in need of saving, not God.
The second reason why we struggle to love our neighbor may not be so obvious. We struggle to love our neighbor as we love ourselves because we have the wrong view of ourselves.
As we walk the straight and narrow, we may find ourselves erring on the side of self-hatred or, on the other hand, selfishness. The only people who are capable of fulfilling the great two commandments are people who recognize “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Tim. 1:15). When we have the right view of God and the right view of ourselves, we’ll be able to make headway on fulfilling the two great commandments.
If you struggle with these two issues relating to the greatest commandment, I want to encourage you to attend our Sunday morning service where we'll be tackling what it means to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. The series will be called, "In the Middle." Hope to see you!
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