How to Love Others Perfectly


Clay Center, Kansas – Do you love yourself? Does that sound odd? Let me ask it this way. When you are hungry, do you find something to eat? When you are thirsty, do you find something to drink? When you are injured, do you find a way to treat yourself? What about when you are tired, lonely or in financial need? Whenever you have needs and care for yourself like this, it is called loving yourself.

Read this statement Jesus made, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:40). He made this a universal standard that all people are to live up to. Sometimes we call it, The Golden Rule, which means we are to treat others, the way we would want to be treated. This means when someone is without food, we help feed them, as if we were the ones without food. And the same with any other need. We come alongside our neighbor to help them, just as if we were taking care of ourselves.

Who is our neighbor? A man once asked Jesus the same question and He gave a story to help him understand. He told about a man who had been traveling, and was robbed and beaten, then left for dead alongside the road. A couple people came by, and walked right on past the near-dead traveler. Then a third person stopped to help and got him the care he needed. In the story, Jesus reveals how the good Samaritan who assisted was a different race and religion than the traveler. He also reveals how the man in need was in such poor condition, he could not help himself. The beaten traveler required help from others to survive.

We are to love everyone, especially those neighbors who are different from us. Like people with a different skin color, religion or no religion, different values or habits, and the list could go on. Our neighbors are also those who cannot help themselves. They may have some needs they cannot meet themselves. And our neighbors are those who have mistreated us. For we do not withhold love from those who have hurt us, but we show them love by God’s power.

Read Jesus’ full comment about loving one’s neighbor, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40)

What does Jesus mean that everything depends on these commandments?

The Bible is filled with all sorts of moral commands; things we are to do and not to do. And they all affect other people. Therefore, the only way we can meet God’s standard and properly treat others, is if we are controlled by heaven’s love. Instead of just feeding ourselves, in love we also feed our neighbor who is in need. Rather than lying to our neighbor to protect ourselves, in love we tell the truth. Instead of using our home just for ourselves, we invite others to enjoy it also. This is perfect love, and no one can have this kind of love naturally.

For our natural-born form of love is corrupted. It seeks to fulfill our personal desires and lusts, where we put ourselves above others. But perfect love, comes not from us, but from our Creator. When we learn the first commandment, loving God with all our heart, soul and mind, then we discover how to perfectly love others.

How can we get this kind of love? Only through Christ. He died and rose again to change us, that we might have His perfect love poured into us.         

A prayer for you – Lord God, we humble ourselves before you and ask that you would fill our hearts with your perfect love. We admit we have failed and fallen short in how we have treated you and others. Change us, O God. Through your love, make us new people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Please share your comment at and follow his blog at Join Clint on a journey to Israel in November 2024. Go to for information.