Thu | Nov 14, 2019

Hello, Mi Neighbour | Loving your neighbour as yourself

Published:Wednesday | July 17, 2019 | 12:06 AM
This homeless person has her hair washed by a Rotaract Club of New Kingston member at the Marie Atkins Shelter in downtown Kingston, as part of activities to bring healthcare professionals to those deemed less fortunate.

Hello, mi neighbour! So in a spirited, amen-filled worship service, the pastor charged his congregants to love their neighbours as themselves throughout the ensuing week. Fifty-five minutes later, in the car park, two church sisters had an unloving, mean-spirited encounter over bad parking. Another sister in passing comments: “but look at those two eeh! A wah di preacher jus seh?” Hopefully, those two quarrellers would have reflected on their unneighbourly behaviour, based on “wha’ di preacher jus’ seh”, and amended their ways during that week. Amen?

So let’s talk: what do you understand from the injunction “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”? First, it’s neither a suggestion nor a wish, but a command, which should be obeyed without question, modification or delay. A command is a directive given by someone or something in authority (negative or positive), which, if disobeyed, may have dire consequences. Before disobeying the command of the police officer, traffic light or the Creator, etc, one must think about the consequences of disobedience and prepare for it! Ok.

The command under scrutiny here is to “love thy neighbour as thyself”. This assumes that we have an appreciation of what self-love is. Self-love is to display a high regard for our body, life, gifts and talents as we adhere to the Maker’s written guidelines for our protection, preservation and enjoyment of life without seeking to deny others similar privileges. By wishing for others all the good that we wish for ourselves, with a willingness to help make it a reality in their lives, if we can, we are demonstrating love of neighbour equally to love of self. Want to have blessings a“run yuh dung”?

If I may interject, self-love is not self-centeredness, selfishness or self-absorption, which often lead to self-worship, and ends in self-destruction. Just wanna say that.

The development of this self-love not only improves our relationships but also makes us better people to be around. Here’s the million-dollar question: how can we flout the Maker’s command to love others as much as self, for thousands of years, yet fail to understand why we cannot build lasting amicable relationships? Now for the no-brainer: until this important ingredient is included in our interactions, human suffering will continue. Don’t we want to enjoy life? Choose love.

Please note that whenever people truly love and accept themselves:

n Their sense of security improves and the effect of negative opinions diminishes.

n Their mental state improves, enabling them to make great decisions.

n They care for and support initiatives that make the environment safe and healthy.

n They become more emotionally stable and less daunted by chaos.

n Their familial, work, romantic and other relationships improve.

n They become free to be themselves with apology.

Leaving you a few tips on how to start loving yourself, if you don’t:

n Start to recognise the strengths that have helped you so far in life.

n Make a list of your accomplish-ments over the years.

n Place list where it can be a daily reminder.

n Think about small changes you can make that will improve your love of self.

n Practise self-compassion and self-forgiveness.

n Pray for those who hurt you; they are hurting. Start now!

Until next time, I charge you to “love your neighbour as yourself,” for life. This charge is fully paid up after you would’ve shown love to everyone you meet.

THANKS TO NEIGHBOURS

n Mrs Dyer, for gift of clothing and other goodies.

n John, St Andrew, for food items.

n Annette, for food items.

NEIGHBOURS’ REQUESTS

n Neighbour, asking neighbours for assistance to start a beekeeping business. Also needs help to build a single room.

n Shavon, asking for a second-hand refrigerator and a stove.

n Neighbour, St Andrew, needs a second-hand hospital bed for her mother.

n Elderly neighbour seeking help to sell snacks for a living.

To help, please call Silton Townsend @ 334-8165, 884-3866, or deposit to acct # 351 044 276 NCB. Alternatively, send donations to HELLO NEIGHBOUR C/o 53 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10; Paypal/credit card: email: zicron22@yahoo.com. CONTACT EMAIL: helloneighbour@yahoo.com. Visit hellomineighbourja.blogspot.com, Mr Townsend exclusively manages the collections and distributions mentioned in this column and is neither an employee nor agent of The Gleaner.