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What does it mean to love others as yourself?

Submitted: 4/13/2011
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Question: The Bible says to love others as yourself. If I don't even love myself, then does that apply? Not to excuse myself. It just doesn't happen naturally. What is love anyhow? Endurance, not abandoning someone, sticking it out? Forgiveness? Teamwork? Friendship? I guess a combination of things. Even doing something that someone didn't deserve but you want them to get ahead, to get out of the rut they're in. I don't hate anyone off the bat. That takes betrayal and even that I have forgiven to the best of my ability and with repentance and the help of Jesus Christ. I guess that means be good to others and care about them.

Answer: Love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Jesus said that to love others means, 'Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets' (Matthew 7:12). Paul explained, 'Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.9 For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 'You shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law' (Romans 13:8-10). He also wrote, 'Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ' (Galatians 6:1-2). James added, 'If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well;9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors' (James 2:8-9). These are all explanations of what we would all like done to us; therefore, this is what we are to do for others. This is what it means to love others as we do ourselves. Paul summarized the commandment this way, 'Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others' (Philippians 2:4).