The second greatest commandment is to love one’s neighbour as oneself. But how is that supposed to look?
That command is taken from Leviticus 19:18, and its original context helps us with the practicalities of loving those around us:
- Loving others with our possessions (vv. 9–10): We must deliberately plan our financial lives so that we have extra left over to give to those in need.
- Loving others with our words (vv. 11–12): God’s people love others by telling the truth in their transactions.
- Loving others by our actions (vv. 13–14): God’s people must not take advantage of the weak.
- Loving others in our judgments (vv. 15–16): Justice means there should be one standard, one law, for anyone and everyone, not different rules for different kinds of people.
- Loving others in our attitude (vv. 17–18): It’s not enough to be polite on the outside and full of rage on the inside. If we are angry with our brother we should “reason frankly” with him and try to work things out. The bottom line is that you are to love as you would want to be loved.
Note that each of these five sections is marked off by the phrase “I am the LORD”. Even our horizontal relationships with other people are bound up with pleasing the Lord.
Another thing worth noting is that these precepts are preceded by the command to be holy just as the LORD is holy (Leviticus 19:1).
So in the end, both commandments—to love your neighbor as yourself and to be holy—boil down to everyday social ethics. Simpler than you might think. But still easier said than done.
Adapted from 5 Love Languages of Leviticus