By: Carole L. Haines
37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matt. 22:37-39)
Another part of loving our neighbor as ourselves, is found in 2 Corinthians 5:16-17:
Therefore, from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
I love the way this passage tells us how we are to look at our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. We recognize them in Christ, not in our fleshly thoughts. We choose to see them as Jesus sees them, forsaking our own bias, prejudice, opinions, etc. We lay down our own thoughts of others. I believe God is also showing us how we are to view ourselves in this Scripture, not according to the flesh.
The word “recognize” means to cherish, to have regard for, to pay attention to. To understand and perceive someone no longer through our own eyes, but through the eyes of God alone, from God’s point of view.
God’s point of view is that if anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creature. Old things have passed away (past tense). Behold, new things have come (present tense). Paul expands this knowledge for us by saying earlier in verses 14-15:
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died. 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Cor. 5:14-15)
That word “control” means to compel, to constrain. The love of Christ Constrains us; it holds us back, makes us bite our tongues or count to ten before speaking. The Love of Christ compels us; drives us forward when we are afraid to reach out to a friend, relative or even a stranger. It gets us moving when we’d rather sleep in, to serve The Body of Christ on any given Sunday. The Love of Christ is meant to control all that we do, how we think, what we say. God gave us a picture of what Love looks like in 1 Corinthians 13”4-8a. We will finish off today looking there:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails.”
If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we must apply the above principles of love to how we look at ourselves first. only then can we see clearly to love others. We will break this down more next time. But let me ask you to dwell on those words in the meantime. Write them down, memorize them, sit with them and ask yourself if this view God has of you, is the one you hold when you are thinking about yourself.