Reading an article about love and the Jewish view has been amazingly insightful. Using this scripture they state that Love has an infinite amount of intrigue and power, but primarily it is an obligation. How can one command you to love? Does this mean we are commanded to “feel” something towards another? Well, we do know that if God instructs us to do so, it must be possible, right?
The Hebrew the phrase “as yourself,” which is v’ahavta l’reacha, is translated in English as “love your neighbor” should really be “love your friend.” Are you a friend to yourself? Isn’t that loving yourself? How many can love what God has made… YOU? So, we are commanded to love ourselves as a friend and also our neighbor as ourself.
How is that possible? It is honestly a strong characteristic of ours to see the lovely virtues in ourselves, remember God gave them to us… and also the lovely virtues in others. My pastor is the most encouraging person that I have ever met. He is realistic but he lifts all people up with words of wisdom, love and encouragement. That is what love is. When our thoughts are lovely and loving our actions will follow.
One more thing about the word friend…. we are in this life together and God places a premium on loving one another. Unity… I see it in many ethnic groups… how they hang together and support one another, lift each other up. God wants us as Christians to have unity. When we are united God is with us … when we are divided, we are one our own. What a measuring stick!
In my state currently there is huge division and the atmosphere is permeated with protesting verbiage. It is very painful and sorrowful.
My prayer is that our people can unite and agree to disagree when needed, but maturity is unity. Oh, how the Lord’s patience is so tested with us. The ache in my heart is painful too.
Don’t forget to love your neighbor, friend!