Love your neighbor as yourself - literally?


Do you think Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself” was meant to be taken literally. Are we really to care with the same intensity for people we don’t know as we do for our spouse and children, let alone ourselves? This seems to me impossible for a human being. To do so would mean a radical change in life. Going to mass and putting money in the collection plate doesn’t even come close. How could we go on vacation or spend money trivially on ourselves when we should be spending most free hours in homeless shelters, giving discretionary income to those in need etc.? Is it even biologically possible for us to follow this command?


It’s a standard to try and achieve, even if we fall short. We can’t all be Mother Teresa, but we can all try to be more loving and giving in our everyday lives.


I’ve heard some people say, but how can I love my neighbour as myself when I don’t love myself at all?

Also how can I love my neighbour as myself it seems impossible?

What if we love our neighbours as ourself from a familial point of view. How about loving your neighbour as though he/she were kith and kin? That works.

So I view my neighbour as I might a distant cousin I’ve never really got to know that well, if at all, but he/she is related and so I must offer them courtesy, respect and charity. I can like them that way and guess what…enough liking causes love :two_hearts:

I like you KevinK, have a man hug :hugs:

Note: as yourself, of you, your family.

(We are also quite similar really, if you know yourself you know a little about everyone including this neighbour, you like some aspects of yourself I’m sure, so you can like those same aspects that your neighbour has, it’s a start.)


It is an extreme commandment to strive towards. When Jesus spent his time on Earth, he could do nothing greater, but how did Jesus love all his neighbours as he loved himself?

How did Jesus hold out his hand on the cross and love the man with the hammer as he loves himself?


We love our neighbors as ourselves because we’re connected.

If I cheat my neighbor, it doesn’t just hurt him-- it hurts me, too.

Imagine how the father in a family might have addiction problems. Those addictions don’t just hurt him-- they hurt the mom, the children, his parents, his siblings, and so on. Imagine how the mother in a family might have anger issues. That inability to control your emotions doesn’t just hurt you, but it hurts all the people around you.

The same thing is true on a wider scale. We don’t always understand the repercussions in this stage of our existence— but we’ll find out someday.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is an easy way to keep this thought in mind. We’re always going to fall short of it. We’re unlikely to be heroic in our love. Many of the great saints irritated their families to no end by prioritizing strangers’ wellbeing over their own, and giving other people the family’s possessions that might not have been theirs to give! :wink:

But at the same time, we can’t be indifferent to those around us. If you can’t act to improve someone’s situation, give them a kind word. If you can’t give a kind word to help someone’s situation, say a prayer.

But don’t be indifferent.


When we first brought this house we had a lovely close knit group of neighbours the old lady next door has left and is now at the rest home down the road ( after I called her daughter and told her daughter something wasn’t right and I was worried).my children use to take over extra produce from my vegetable garden And she became a very close family friend at the same time we had an elderly gentleman across the road who use to bake amazing cakes ( he brought us cake on several occasions usually when he baked for his children who didnt end up turning up ) and we once again brought him fresh fruit and Veges out of the garden helped him clean his gutters one day when I saw him up on a ladder and we always talked regularly. Now that our 2 favourite neighbours have moved we have new ones we get along with one of them (a locally elderly couple in there 90s who love to walk there dog) and have called the police on the other one on multiple occasions. I think loving your neighbour as though you love yourself is all about looking after your neighbours making sure they are ok ( after all you look after yourself and make sure your ok) helping them if they need help and being there if they need you. You have to be a part of your community and try to do the right thing.


It’s a matter of grace-so biology doesn’t need to enter into it. We can pray for that love-and the more we cooperate, the more God will increase it. Sort of a spiritual principle at work there.


It would be better to love them like Jesus loved them, that way you don’t have to love yourself.


yes we are

and it doesn’t necessarily take the form of money or time in homeless shelters.


Those of us with poor self image had better not take it too literally :stuck_out_tongue:


The Christian walk is one of growth in virtues, including charity.
A lot of people really are down on themselves, and it is a work of charity towards yourself to see yourself through God’s eyes and understand that you also have the right to be treated with respect.


It is more about an alternate world view that is less self centered more compassionate.


Considering Jesus taught to forsake all you have, (Luke 14:33) sell it and give the money you get from it to the poor, (Luke 12:33, 34 helps too) and to stop working for money, (John 6:27) them yes, we have to literally love our neighbours as ourselves. Please, obey Jesus. Read John 3:36. (The original Greek in the verse pretty much means to believe, obey, and follow, [not necessarily physically, but metaphorically/spiritually] as far as I know. That is why various translation have different words, like believe, or obey.)


I remember listening to a talk from Patrick Madrid. During the talk he stated when the Apostles wrote the books of the Bible they didn’t underline the word that they intended to be stressed in the verse. Our interpretation of the Bible is dependent on the words we stress when we read particular verses of scripture. The interpretation of the verse can quite often change with the word you stress.

The point I am getting at is depending on the tone of Jesus words the literal meaning of His words can change.

Well every time I read that verse I read…… You shall love your neighbor as yourself. So to me I always interpreted the verse to mean love others as you would want them to love you. As in love without out expecting any love in return.

Never once did it enter my mind to read the verse……… You shall love your neighbor as yourself. That never once dawned on me, because there was I time that I would have thought no way that it sounds too selfish. However once I did the Men Rise Up Challenge it made perfect sense.

If we are unwilling to love ourselves first then we aren’t really accepting God’s love for us. How can a person possible give what they don’t first have?

Yes I believe so, however first you need to love yourself. This means taking care of yourself financially, spiritually, and physically. Like I said you can’t give what you don’t first have.

Because we need to rejuvenate ourselves in order to give to others.

Think about it this way.

Which is better for this guy. He has two options.

He can spend every free moment of his time going to the homeless shelters and running himself ragged to feed a few hundred people each week.


He could spend time on himself taking care of his health, taking time to pray to God for guidance, spending time on vacation with his family. All of which gives him the desire to work harder at his business allowing him the resources to purchase the food for 10 shelters allowing him to feed thousands.

If we don’t love ourselves and care for ourselves we will become worthless to others.

Ask yourself, do you work out, do you rest or do you feel drained and uninspiring.

One of these people are able to take Jesus command literally the other is not.

God Bless


This is, I think, a good way to view the command.

I don’t think Jesus meant by loving another as yourself that you take over their autonomy and become them, subsequently doing everything that they as human beings are responsible for. That isn’t loving them by respecting their autonomy, it is actually nullifying and usurping their identity and autonomy by doing for them what they could do for themselves.

Holding them accountable as moral agents would be loving them as ourselves because we ought to hold ourselves accountable for living a good life and making good choices. We have a unique responsibility for ourselves and those in our families that we do not have for other adults and their dependents.

Loving your own children means to make choices for them until they are mature enough and wise enough to make choices for themselves. We wouldn’t be loving others as independent and autonomous individuals by making choices for them or treating them like children. That would be to make them dependent, if they would even stand for it.


Well, what I’ve read in the. Baltimore Catechism is that the commandment to love your neighbour as yourself basically consists in avoiding doing things to them that you wouldn’t like to have done to you.

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