My Greatest Challenge

My greatest challenge in life is to love others as I am loved.

In all religions the challenge is to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.

In Taoism the challenge is descriptive. ‘Regard your neighbour’s loss or gain as your own loss or gain.’ In Jainism the call is instructive. ‘One who neglects existence disregards their own existence’. In Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Judaism and Baha’i the challenge is imperative and is framed in negative terms. ‘Never do to others what would pain you.’ ‘Hurt not others with that which hurts yourself.’ ‘What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbour.’ ‘Do not impose on others what you do not yourself desire’. ‘Desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.’ While In Islam, Sikhism and Christianity the challenge is imperative and is framed in positive terms. ‘Do unto all people as you would they should do to you’. ‘Treat others as you would be treated yourself. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.

Jesus referred to this challenge as the ‘old commandment’. All people of all religions all over the world have always known the basic rule for nurturing a healthy human family is to ‘do unto others as we would have them do unto us’.

However, Jesus gave us a new commandment. He said, ‘A new commandment I give to you: that you love one another as I have loved you!’[i] In the old commandment we were challenged to ‘love our neighbour as we have loved ourselves’. And, for most of us, to transcend our own egocentricity and our own ethnocentricity enough to extend the same kind of quality of care for others as we extend to ourselves is a big enough challenge. But in the new commandment we are challenged to ‘love our neighbour as Jesus loved us’. Now that challenge for me is bigger than big – it is the biggest challenge in my life –  to ‘love others as I have been loved – radically, deeply, personally, passionately, practically, relentlessly, endlessly, sacrificially.’ God help me!

Dave Andrews

[i] John13:34

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