My dad asks me and all of my siblings the same question every night: “What are the two greatest commandments?”
We always answer with the same thing. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
That second commandment, “love your neighbor as yourself,” seems pretty easy to interpret. You’ve probably been told to “treat others the way you would want to be treated” dozens of times.
But that isn’t true.
You shouldn’t treat others the way you would want to be treated.
You should treat them the way they would want to be treated.
Think about it – we’re all very different. When you’re upset, you may want to be comforted and talked to, while someone else may prefer to have some time to themselves instead. When that person is angry or frustrated, if you treat them the way you would want to be treated, you wouldn’t be showing them kindness.
How could you ever love someone like that? It feels impossible.
You should love others with the extent of love you show yourself. What I mean by this is that there are things that you are passionate about and that you love, things that you will go to great lengths to be able to have. You should take that same passion and drive that you use to achieve the things you love – and use it to love others.
We can never love anyone perfectly. But we can show kindness, we can help in big and small ways, we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and we can try to genuinely care for others. We can be a little part of God using many people in many different ways to show someone that they are loved.