The meaning of a word can and will be taken out of context unless the reader knows exactly how the word is used and defined. For example, take the words ‘As’ and ‘And’.
There are many people who read those words and assume that their meaning is similar, but those people would be pathetically incorrect.
Let’s look at the how the words ‘As’ and ‘And’ are defined in their simplest of forms:
‘As‘: 1) to the same degree or amount; 2) used to introduce an example.
‘And‘: 1) used to join words or groups of words. 2) used to described an action that is repeated or that occurs for a long time.
Notice that the definitions of the words ‘As’ and ‘And’ are not the same.
‘And’ is used mainly as a conjunction to bring together words or groups. ‘As’ can be used as a conjunction or a preposition, but it’s primary use in the English language is that of an adverb and is used to compare or introduce an example.
The word ‘And’ is not able to do this because that would change the meaning of a sentence. Here’s an example… “Sally is not the same and her brother.”
See what I mean? If you replace the word ‘As’ with ‘And’ in that sentence, it throws the sentence structure off completely because ‘And’, in its simplest of forms, isn’t used to compare something with another thing.
Now, let’s change it up a bit and replace ‘And’ with ‘As’. “The boys as their mother are going to the mall.”
Makes the whole sentence sound pretty pathetic, doesn’t it? If not, then you’re just weirdly pathetic and under-educated.
So, knowing how a word is defined and used in a specific language, a reader can develop a better understanding of what the writer is trying to convey. Hence, the command: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Since we know that ‘As’ is defined as a word used to compare and refer to the extent or degree of something, we can then see that the meaning of the command is really: “Love your neighbor in comparison to or to the degree of which you love yourself.”
If God had said, “Love your neighbor AND love yourself,” that would have changed the meaning of the command entirely.
Please don’t misunderstand, the commandment is not commanding you to love yourselves. It’s commanding you to love your neighbor to the same degree in which you already love yourself. Therefore, if you love yourself a very little bit, then love your neighbor a very little bit. If you love yourself a lot, then love your neighbor a lot.
No matter the degree of love you have for yourself, the command is: love your neighbor with the same amount of love!
You see, the command isn’t about loving yourself because you and I already do that, though, not to the same degree.
Your love of yourself might be a lot more than my love for myself, or your love for yourself might be a lot less than say your neighbor’s love for themselves.
However, if you and I and your neighbor don’t love ourselves at all, then any attempt at loving a neighbor is just a pathetic waste of time and we all might want to get some much needed therapy.
Nonetheless, we all have a love for ourselves and it’s proven by how we fulfill needs and desires. Those needs and desires can be things such as food, water, clothing and shelter. Consequently, if you’re willing to provide your body with those needs, then do the same for your neighbor.
In conclusion, now that we know how the command is meant to be interpreted, we have a better understanding of what Jesus was talking about when He said: “…by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” AND “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
It’s pathetic when ‘As’ and ‘And’ are mistaken to have the same meaning.