For instance, loving myself entails providing for my own board and lodge. We also made this provision for our children when they were growing up, but we did not have the means to make the same provision for needy children in general.
So if I consider this command of Jesus as directed at me personally, I don’t get very far. If I consider it as a command for us corporately as a church it makes more sense – we can donate to charities and we can vote for a government that will provide for the homeless and the hungry. We can make some provision for needy people in out own parishes.
Does loving our neighbours as ourselves have any meaning at all for us as individuals? If we adopt a ‘do-as-you-would-be-done-by’ attitude, would that do our neighbours any good? I used to think that it might – now I am not so sure. I think of a very everyday example – hugging. Some people love giving and receiving hugs. Others cringe at the prospect. It’s no good us assuming that a ‘do-as-you-would-be-done-by’ attitude is a good thing when it comes to hugging – and maybe when it comes to other things. too.
So how can we love our neighbours as ourselves? I think we can in the way that we pray for each other. I pray for others in the same way as I pray for myself. I pray for strength, guidance, correction, comfort, healing. I pray for forbearance and patience. I pray for discernment and wisdom. I pray for a thankful and forgiving heart. I pray for humility.
To anyone who has read this – any thoughts?