One of the teachers… asked [Jesus], “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
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 neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31, NIV)
How did Jesus say we are to love ourself? How could we know how to love our neighbor unless we first knew how we are to love ourself? It seems Jesus was referring back to something he previously said, so that we could love our neighbor likewise.
It seems he was referring back to the first great commandment—we love God in our-Self, through fully loving with ALL our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength, the true Self within us, even God who gave us the breath of life. That is where we love the Lord our God, and it is from our Self that God loves. God is not separate from us and distant. God is right here, in Us, our-Self, your-Self. We are gods, the offspring of God (Psalm 82:6; John 10:34). And as gods, we should love other gods likewise, for the Lord our God is One. God has given us all life, and God is life. Hear, O Israel!
Jesus said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34). Paul likewise taught, “[God] is not far from any one of us. For in [God] we live and move and are” (Acts 17:28).
2 thoughts on “The Greatest Commandments are One”
Interesting take on those verses, I haven’t considered that before. I’m trying to be more mindful about my self worth, the Lord’s love for me, and especially learning how to better love myself. We are often our own harshest critics–which certainly affects the way we live life and how we treat others. Our inadequacies and inclination to feel that we’re not good enough can be crippling to our spiritual progression.
Interesting, isn’t it. When we learn how to put off the natural man (the carnal mind, the constructed false self), it seems that love for oneself and others flows naturally. Love abounds! The inner critic is just another facet of the natural man/carnal mind/constructed self. It is the “tempter” that tells us we aren’t good enough, or that we are worthless, and which causes us to feel sorry for ourselves and impotent in doing good in the world. When we put off that mind, when we still and quiet the mind and focus on our present experience, the criticism stops, the judgments slow and then fall away completely. We then bathe in a profound love that seems to naturally emanate from us towards others. We clearly see the inherent divine worth in every individual, including ourselves.