How to Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself


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If you don't love yourself well, you will never love your neighbor well. A look at Jesus command to "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only LordAnd you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29–31

On Monday, we took a closer look at what it means to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. – what it is and 10 ways to live it out every day.

Today, I want to dig into the second part of these commands … “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Because like having an all-consuming love for God — “loving your neighbor as you love yourself” is easier to say than it is to live.

First, you and I have to know what it means to love ourselves! If we don’t love ourselves well, we will certainly have trouble loving others.

But an important truth is I don’t believe loving myself means I have to get all warm and fuzzy every time I look in the mirror or look back over my day.

I believe self-love is birthed in humility.

Warren Wiersbe wrote the following as the definition of true humility:

  1. Know Yourself – Knowing yourself means getting to know your personality, your values, your gifts and abilities, and your hopes and dreams . . . the you God created.
  2. Accept Yourself – Accepting yourself comes from having and keeping a vertical perspective. Fixing your eyes on Jesus. NOT COMPARING yourself to others.
  3. Be Yourself – Being yourself means living obediently as the one of a kind, God designed person you are. Being yourself means allowing God to use you to fulfill His plans and purposes. It is allowing Him to use you to love others in ways only you are able.

You can find out more about loving yourself at – 25 Ways to Love Yourself God’s Way.

What if you and I applied the same three understandings to loving others?

Love your neighbor — Know them. Accept them. Allow them to be themselves. AND put that truth into action for ourselves and for others.

Maybe we make it too complicated.  Loving ourselves and others may mean simply caring for each other’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being as we are best able.

A great place to start is to “First, do no harm.”

Paul wrote:

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. Romans 13:8–10

But it really is just the beginning isn’t it?

If you don't love yourself well, you will never love your neighbor well. A look at Jesus command to "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."

I also like the way Dallas Willard expands on this idea:

“What love is: We love something when we are devoted to its good or well-being. This applies to God, our “neighbor,” our flower garden, or our bank account. Love is will-to-good. Not the same as desire. And not always directed rightly or ordered rightly. Love involves compassion.”

First, do no harm, and next will-to-good!

That makes it far less complicated, doesn’t it?

Neighbor love means to purposefully avoid harming them and being devoted to their well-being … offering help as we are able.  

I made a list of things you and I can do to love our neighbors better …

A Dozen Ways to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

1. Look at everyone with tender-hearted compassion.

2. Pay attention – listen to everyone with kindness and consideration.

3. Treat people the way you’d like them to treat you. Matthew 7:12 (paraphrase me)

4. Refuse to judge others – that’s God’s job.

5. Pray with and for your friends, family, neighbors, children’s teachers and friends, leaders, etc.

6. Refuse to participate in gossip about anyone … ever.

7. Be quick to inspire and encourage the people around you.

8. Say “please” and “thank you” often!

9. Keep your promises.

10. Forgive quickly and completely.

11. Pay attention – look people in the eye and smile at them.

12. Be kind … always and without exception!

How to Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself at Counting My Blessings by Deb WolfYou don’t have to agree with someone to be kind.

In the story of the Good Samaritan…

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

That’s neighbor love!

“God’s irresistible grace binds our wandering hearts to Himself and frees us to love Him back and overflow in love to our neighbors.” ~ Gloria Furman


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  1. Such an important post in times like these, Deb. Sharing on Pinterest and Twitter. Looking forward to interacting in the Blessing Bloggers FB group today!

  2. So encouraged to see my post from last week featured here today!
    Blessings to you, and thanks for these practical, love-centric thoughts as a follow up to the Valentine’s Day hoopla. What grace that we are loved with an everlasting love and that we are enabled to share it with others.

  3. Katy Watters says:

    Thank you for hosting, Deb! I am new to the blog world and I love yours! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Katy

  4. This post is so full of truth and the quotes you chose are outstanding ones! Thanks, Deb, for never failing to show your wisdom in Him!

  5. I love your list of practical ways to show love to our neighbor. Sadly, too often we’re better at showing love (common courtesy, kindness, etc.) to strangers than we are to those closest to us. Yet, when we consistently love others biblically, relationships change and grow, and like my husband says, “The golden rule usually yields the golden result – with the measure we use it will be measured back to us.

  6. This verse has been on my mind this entire week. I even discussed it with my baby sister about how we ought to love ourselves first before loving our neighbor. If we hate our appearance, we will dislike someone else’s as well.

    I will be pinning this wonderful post .

  7. Great tips Deb! Know them, accept them, allow them to be themselves- perfect! <3

  8. “I believe self-love is birthed in humility.” Excellent point, Deb. We too tend to make this too complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Thanks for the encouragement.

  9. #13 Invite them for dinner.

    We made a list of potential guests, and invited Adam and Brittany – they couldn’t come. My husband (shy) was relieved. BUT on a walk w/ Holli-dog the other night, Ryan and Katie and baby walk up alongside, and now they are coming for dinner tomorrow night. Pray they see Jesus in us and that my Man in Plaid is delighted. A pasta is made and in the freezer for such a time as this. Biblical, don’t you think?

  10. Thank you, Deb! It’s such an encouragement to have my post chosen to be featured. I pray others will be blessed in their pursuit of peace. The care and wisdom evident in your writing is always such a blessing to me. I love how ‘pay attention’ features twice in your advice, as it reminds me of just how much paying sweet and compassionate attention to each other matters. Blessings to you, my friend.

  11. Thank you for breaking it down as to what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I need to work on number #11; Sometimes I am in such a hurry I don’t stop to notice people. Great reminders.

  12. I think of this commandment as compassion. Imagining what the other person must be going through. And many times they can’t see any way out of it. Jesus always makes a way. Thanks for hosting!

  13. The dozen ways make this whole thing doable; and with God’s help we’d come upon more ways to carry out this command. Thanks for sharing, Deb. Blessings to you.

  14. Gary Roberts says:

    There is a similar verse in Matthew. Matthew 19 verse 19. Both Matthew and Marks messages I believe are the most important in the Bible. For me loving God and Jesus is the easiest and most natural for anyone that believes in Christianity. However, loving your neighbor as your self, which is a metaphor for love at anytime anyone who is near you as you love yourself is necessary but not always easy to do, so we must work hard to fulfil that commandment.

    1. Amen, Gary! Loving others is where our living our faith gets tough. That’s why I need to keep leaning in close to Jesus asking Him to pour into my life all I need to love others for Him. Love God and love others – that’s the message isn’t it?! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughts!