Jesus instructed his followers with the following two commandments: to love their God and to love their neighbour.
But this is just the shortened version of his command, and sometimes we forget to look at the whole instruction:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
If we are to love our neighbours as ourselves, does that mean that we need to love and respect ourselves first; that unless we love ourselves first, we cannot offer true love and respect to others?
I wonder how often our good deeds towards others turn sour or are done resentfully or grudgingly, if we haven’t taken care of ourselves and loved ourselves first?
It reminded me that I was leafing through a book in a book shop recently, where the current Dalai Lama was asked what it was he did in his role as the Dalai Lama. His reply was “I take care of myself.”
Perhaps I will try to look after myself better, spend time doing what I enjoy and appreciate myself better (all things we often consider to be ‘selfish’) – and see if loving and appreciating others better will follow automatically.
Sounds too simple to be true, really …