“Jesus replied: ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself”‘” (Matthew 22:37-39).

How do you love your neighbor? The same way you love yourself. “Yourself” is someone you already greatly love, and therefore is a good standard for how to love someone else. Even people with “low self-worth” love themselves very much. They are much more concerned about themselves than they are about others.

How do we love our neighbor as ourselves? For a start, calculate how much time you spend thinking about yourself on an average day. Second, list all the things you do for yourself, including bathing, eating, sleeping, and studying. Third, admit that these things are expressions of love for yourself. Fourth, admit that you do not love your neighbor (even your best friend) this much. Fifth, admit that that is a violation of God’s command and needs His forgiveness. Turn to Him for forgiveness. This will not make you loving, but it will make you clean. From that position you can choose to love your neighbor.

Now, decide to love your neighbor. The choice is yours. The power to carry it out is God’s. The love will not be an emotional feeling, at least not at first. When you choose to obey God in this way, He provides the emotion and the means of expressing it so that it will not be phony.

*Excerpted from Being Christian. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore