The man asked for a commandment. For some dysfunctional reason, this man felt like he wanted, or needed, a commandment. He perceived light, and his first instinct was toward authority. Go figure.
Jesus gave him what he asked for. Actually, he gave two of them. Or was it really just one?
The first – Love God…love the universe, love all there is, love all creation, all being; love the very idea of love…in short – BE love.
The second – Love thy neighbor AS thyself.
“AS” = at the same time, in the same way, equally, in conjunction with.
There’s a perhaps more subtle message here, though. It is that we will never be able to love our neighbor UNTIL we love ourselves, because our perception of ourselves is the inescapable filter through which we perceive our neighbor. In other words, what we see in ourselves is what we see in others.
A great lie has been foisted upon us throughout human existence. True prophets in all cultures, all religions, throughout the millennia have cried foul, but few listen. Few can see past the fear.
Is it possible that we can listen now?
We are NOT broken, fallen, sinful creatures in need of redemption; in need of salvation; in need of a savior. And neither is our neighbor.
No, we are glorious, beautiful, loving, divine creatures who have believed the lie…and so is our neighbor.
Until we believe the truth about ourselves, though…until we learn to love ourselves, we can never truly love our neighbor. Until we can learn to cherish the goodness and perfection in ourselves, we can never cherish the goodness and perfection in our neighbor. The most we can hope for is envy…”I WISH I were as good as that person, but I never will be”…which, of course, leads to feelings of unworthiness; to hierarchy; to separation, and opens the door to those who would seek power and control, vainly elevating themselves by keeping others down, drowning in the lie. Believing the lie prompts us to seek commandments.
When we learn to focus on our own innate goodness, our endowed inheritance, our divine glory, then, and only then, will we be able to see the same glory in our neighbor. When we learn this one thing, then we will naturally, inexorably, irresistibly flood the earth with love, and approach the oneness – that natural oneness that is our true nature – that Jesus and others sought to reveal, invite, and encourage.
Love they neighbor as thyself. Were more sublime words ever spoken?