“If, however, you are [really] fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, if you have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit]” you are doing well.” James 2:8

This is perhaps one of the most difficult commandments relating to human relationships in the Bible. At times, if we are completely honest with ourselves, there are some in our lives that we find extremely difficult to love - as ourselves. They may not be our enemies, they may not do us wrong. Perhaps they do not do anything against us or say anything against us. But for some strange reason, we just cannot love them as Jesus would have us love them.

This command is quoted in the Old Testament, and also by Jesus in the New Testament. When we consider how much we love ourselves, this commandment seems almost impossible - especially when we add up the ways we automatically love ourselves.

We are always aware of ourselves…how to care for, how to please ourselves, how to protect, and to please ourselves. It doesn't’ necessarily need to be a conscious thing. We automatically are set up as humans to do these things to ourselves. Personally, I have had to strive and strongly resist several times resenting and disliking someone. I prayed silently and instantly as soon as I realized how my mind was working. I asked God to strengthen my mind and feelings to find good qualities in someone that I disliked. Each time He rescued my mind and spirit, and caused the animosity to go away. Not always instantly but sometimes progressively over a short period of time. I prayed that the animosity would never come back. So far, so good!

But then I realized that what the Holy Spirit had accomplished in my heart also included I was not only to NOT dislike someone, but I was required to go the next and final mile…I then must LOVE that person…not just “not like”! This is the point that many struggle with. At times, it is very difficult to achieve. Actually, I believe it is impossible unless the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf with the power to love in addition to not disliking!

This can be the “acid test” as the saying goes. Only the Holy Spirit can conquer what is often an unconquerable problem in our hearts and minds. But when it comes to truly loving someone that seems difficult to love, we must consider the solution that the Apostle Paul relates about himself: Many times, this is the only way to overcome.

Notice Paul’s similar problems, and God’s solution:

“For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it [that is, it is not me that acts], but the sin [nature] which lives in me. So I find it to be the law [of my inner self], that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature], but I see a different law and rule of action in the members of my body [in its appetites and desires], waging war against the law of my mind and subduing me and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is within my members.

Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]?

Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord!” - if I habitually do what I do not want to do, [that means] I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good (morally excellent)!

So now [if that is the case, then] it is no longer I who do it [the disobedient thing which I despise], but the sin [nature] which lives in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not. For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it [that is, it is not me that acts], but the sin [nature] which lives in me.”

“So I find it to be the law [of my inner self], that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature], but I see a different law and rule of action in the members of my body [in its appetites and desires], waging war against the law of my mind and subduing me and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is within my members. Wretched and miserable man that I am! Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]?

Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind serve the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness, my sinful capacity—I serve] the law of sin.” - Romans 7:19-21

"Therefore - there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” - Romans 8:1

I have felt many times that if it were not for Romans:1, I would falter, and not be able to recover.

In all circumstance such as I - and especially the Apostle Paul - have shown, it is not me that has the feelings of not being able to love all those in my path, but IT IS THE SIN PRINCIPLE in my human nature that is causing the problem.

But the good news is: the Holy Spirit already knows WE (our new nature via the Holy Spirit) do not intend to hate or strongly dislike someone. It is the “old man” as Paul described it that is causing us the trouble! When we realized that we have sinned, and are sorry for it, the blood of Jesus is applied and our sin is blotted out - forever!

When similar circumstances occur to you, just ask Jesus to forgive you, and strengthen you over time until it is no longer a problem. Then, with the Apostle Paul you can say and believe:

“Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].”