Yeshua (Jesus) said we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Some in religious circles refer to Yeshua’s directive as the Golden Rule. It’s a lofty goal, for sure. Are humans capable of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves?
On the surface, no we are not capable of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. If we were, there would be no wars, no estrangements, no grudges held against others. So what did Yeshua mean?
Love is an interesting word. It’s an action word. When we love another, we show them the depth of our love through words and deeds. We are kind and gentle with our words, we show respect and affection with our actions, don’t we? But, not everyone receives this level of attention in their lives, do they? We don’t receive it from others, either. So, love must be something more. Love must be something deeper.
Loving others as we love ourselves means that we see the essence of God within every individual. We recognize the sacred in others. Everything God created bears God’s essence and therefore is good. In Genesis, God created and declared the creation good. Did it stop being good because humankind screwed up as the church teaches? I don’t think so.
The definition of sin is to miss the mark, however, the definition evolved into humankind’s moral corruption and transgression against God. The two definitions are very different. We all miss the mark, we make mistakes, but does that take away from the fact that God declared the creation, including humankind, good? No. The essence of God did not leave when the first humans missed the mark. The essence of God was still within them and is within each of us.
Loving our neighbors as ourselves would not be possible if we were morally corrupt, if we had transgressed against God to the point the essence of God left us. The church teaches belief in Yeshua restores our relationship with God, however, I do not believe there is some magical transformation that occurs when we speak the Sinner’s Prayer. God’s essence does not reenter our spirits because we speak a few words. God’s essence never left us. When we realize the essence of God is within and always has been, our spirits open, and we experience the freedom to live as extensions of the Divine Love within. With the knowledge and appreciation that we are extensions of Divine Love our spiritual eyes open and we can appreciate the sacredness of others, the same sacredness that is within us. We may disagree with the actions and words of others, and that is well within our rights. Disagreement with the words and actions of others does not negate the sacredness within. When we appreciate the sacredness of others, we can love our neighbors as ourselves…..