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What It Means to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

By Mormon.org
man helping elderly woman with groceries

The First Commandment

By the time of the Savior’s mortal ministry, observance of the law of Moses for the sake of the law, rather than the means to come closer to God, had become the focus. Knowing the complexity of the law and attempting to discredit the Savior, a certain scribe asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?” The Savior replied: “The first of all the commandments is … thou shalt love the Lord thy God. … And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28–31).

In this response, Jesus Christ taught that by observing these two great commandments—to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves—we are more likely to obey other commandments. At first glance, this instruction to love our neighbors as ourselves might appear to be one dimensional—love others. But the wording is clear. We must love our neighbors as we love ourselves. How then do we learn to love ourselves so we can translate that feeling into love for our neighbors?

Who We Are

We learn to love ourselves and appreciate our own value as we develop a clear understanding of who we are. Far from the world’s view of self-worth, which is defined by superficial measurements like wealth, power, arrogance, greed, and popularity, our true worth is determined by our relationship with deity. We are children of a loving Heavenly Father with a divine potential to succeed. Watch as these individuals share their understanding of who we are as children of God.

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Here are some ways we can come to know who we are and appreciate our self-worth.

  • Pray. Constant communication with Heavenly Father broadens our perspective and confirms our potential.
  • Read the scriptures. As we focus on God’s teachings, we gain a clear understanding of our value—from knowing we were created in God’s image (see Genesis 1:26–27) to learning that our worth is of such value that our Savior gave His life to redeem us (see D&C 18:10–11).
  • Have faith in Christ. If we struggle to know who we are and what we are worth, we should trust the Savior, follow His teachings, and believe that He can lead us to happiness.
  • Repent. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we each have the opportunity to let go of the past and try a little harder to obey God’s commandments going forward. As we do, we will see our own value with clarity.

Share the Love

Once we have a clear understanding of who we are and what we are worth, it is easy to share that love with those around us. Our neighbors are Heavenly Father’s children too, and loving them strengthens and reflects our love for Him. Loving and serving others is so easy even children can do it. Watch as these children follow Christ’s commission to love one another.

Here are some ways we can show love to others every day.

  • Pay attention. Look around and notice the needs of others. Sometimes all it takes is a watchful eye to see ways to lift and strengthen those around us.
  • Listen. The scriptures teach, “The Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world” (D&C 84:46). So listen to those inner promptings and then act. Never suppress a generous thought or action. If you feel impressed to express love through an act of kindness, follow through.
  • Forgive. Paul taught, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If we hope to be forgiven of our shortcomings and mistakes, we must be willing to offer forgiveness to those around us. As we do, we follow the commandment to love.
  • Act. Make a habit of doing something nice for someone else every single day. Service doesn’t have to be big to make a difference. But by serving others daily, we follow the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.