We are all familiar with the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
But how about the second greatest commandment? “You shall love your neighbor,” right?
Wrong! Verse 39 reads, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
If God only commands, “Love your neighbor,” most of us can be comfortable with that. We can come up with our own list of “neighbors” or we can redefine “love” according to our preferences.
But adding the two words “as yourself” makes it radical and difficult. Radical because we live in a world that values personal success, comfort and self-esteem. Difficult because it becomes too personal, shattering our hearts too focused on self.
So what does loving our neighbor as ourselves mean? Who is our neighbor? Why is it the “second” greatest commandment and how is it connected with the first and greatest commandment? If it is too difficult, how can we obey that command?