The command to “love your neighbor as yourself” turns up just one time in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18). We find it buried deep in an eclectic list of instructions to (among other things) not mix fabrics, not consume blood, and not round off the hair on your temples. This might seem a strange place to put a commandment to love yourself and love your neighbor. Consider, however, that the people of God will be set apart, living a different lifestyle than that of the people around them.
In that same chapter, God tells Moses that the people must not harvest their entire crop. They should leave the edges unharvested so that those who are hungry, poor, or far from home can find something to eat. The actions of God’s people reflect a deep concern for others.
We, too, are called and marked as God’s people by our actions toward others. And, don’t be afraid to claim love of self alongside love of neighbor as the way you live in God’s kingdom here and now.
This message is excerpted from “Loving others as you love yourself” by Megan Torgerson in the March 2019 Cafe online magazine.
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