The book of Leviticus talks a lot about the holiness of God. God is holy (set apart), therefore we are holy. Holiness means that God’s people are distinguished from the world. Where the world perpetuates violence, injustices, and hatred, God’s people are to show compassion, justice, and love. God does not permit his people to take vengeance.
There are very specific commandments for how to treat one’s neighbor. “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18 ESV). This commandment is what Jesus referred to as “the second greatest commandment,” behind loving the Lord your God. In fact, these two commandments were so strong that Jesus said all of the law and the prophets hinge on these two commandments.
Over the next few weeks we will specifically talk about what it means to love ourselves. There are plenty of references in the Bible yet Christians don’t seem to take this charge to love ourselves as seriously as they should. Love is not perfect if we don’t love ourselves.