I told my sister it says in the Bible to love our neighbors as we lov - Bible Questions and Answers - Prayer Tents

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69. I told my sister it says in the Bible to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and she said “what if you someone who reads that doesn’t love themselves” can you guys answer her question on how can someone apply that teaching in the Bible if they don’t love themselves?
Asked by: Male, Under 19, North America on August 11, 2022 4:55:52 pm



Thank you for the excellent question.

Yes, Jesus said to love our neighbor as ourselves, and it seems to be a problem when the person cannot love oneself.

However, I assure you all people love themselves because of our sinful human nature. The command of Jesus comes as a challenge because of that. Even people with suicidal thoughts and filled with worries love themselves to want to get out of the situation or end their lives. 

Let's go into the context of what Jesus said.

Consider this passage:

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) 

36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." 


Matthew 7:7-12 (NIV) 

7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. 

Jesus says that by loving God and loving others, we fulfill the requirements of the law and the prophets (the requirements of the Old Testament). Loving God and others is not easy for self-focused people. Yet, Jesus says that is what we ought to do. The Gospel is that God enables us to love by transforming our hearts (see Ezekiel 36:26). God knew we could not do this alone. When we try, we will fail. That is why Jesus came, and we can love God and others through the abilities He gives us.

Then, take a look at the second passage in verse 12. It says, "in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." It is a paraphrase of the passage above. Yet, there is a keyword there in verse 12: "So" (or therefore). The conjunctive adverb means that some instruction in the writing precedes it to lead to that. 

Here, Verses 7-11 discuss the Father's love toward His children. When children ask, their earthly parents will undoubtedly give them what they ask for. The heavenly Father would do so in even greater measure. So, if we receive such love from God, we can love others with the love we receive from God.

So, let us recap. 

As people, we will automatically love ourselves because of our fallen nature.

Loving God and others cannot be done in our strength. God needs to enable us. That is why we need a Savior.

We can love God and others as we love ourselves by the love we receive. (or perhaps, the love we perceive that we receive). It is when we feel loved that we gain self-confidence and self-worth so that we can love others.

God loves us as His children. His love initiates our ability to love God and others. (See 1John 4:7-21 )

Please write again if I can support you further.

Many blessings!

Answered by Dr. Sang Sur

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