Updated: Apr 23
Many people say "I love you" and have feelings that they identify with love. Some people do not understand that those feelings are not what love actually is. Love is not just a feeling. Love is a verb. Love is action. This is true in any relationship, not just romantic ones.
To truly love someone else you must first love yourself. The Bible says the greatest commandments are to love God and your neighbor as yourself. It is considered the Golden Rule. The rule says if you would not want it done to you, then don't do it to others.
"Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
- Matt 22:37-39
The Golden Rule is found in most religions.
• Treat others as you would like others to treat you
• Do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated
• What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself
So it follows that you would need to start with self-love.
There is a famous verb verse in The Bible about love:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
- I Cor 13: 4-8
That is a pretty awesome description of love and it is based on how you treat other people. It includes forgiveness, consideration, self-control, effort and kindness. Make sure to extend these to yourself first.
"The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful."
— Tao Te Ching, Chapter 49
"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."
— Udanavarga 5:18
Also in Hinduism:
"One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires."
— Brihaspati, Mahabharata 13.113.8 (Critical edition)
"By making dharma your main focus, treat others as you treat yourself"
"If the entire Dharma can be said in a few words, then One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. "
— Padmapuraana, shrushti 19/357–358
If someone says they love you, then their actions must match for it to be love, otherwise the words are without real meaning. Love requires refection on self, certain standards of treatment and behavior.
God is Love. We are all manifestations of Spirit. The world needs more love.
"God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."
1 John 4:16
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
1 John 4:7-8 NIV
"Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever."
Psalm 136:26 NIV
May you love yourself and extend that love to others. If no one has told you today, I want you to know that you are loved! God loves you and so do I.
God bless you, have a great week and Namaste.
Rev. S. Castle