We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:1-4)
St Paul frequently advocates for Christians that they humble themselves and treat others as deserving more than they themselves deserve. Rather than “looking out for number one” (my self), we are to consider others as deserving more and trying to make sure they get it ahead of ourselves.
Christ taught us: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). [Christ makes life simple – we don’t need to know all 613 laws of the Torah, and we don’t even need to recite all Ten Commandments for they all can be summed up in two commandments – love God and love neighbor, do this and you will have eternal life. In fact, we don’t need to know all the ethical rules that have been written, for the two rules Christ promulgates are enough for every situation.] Even if we imagine we can somehow be a Christian and look out for ‘number one’ (my self), we have to acknowledge that Christ said that as important as the command to love God is, the command to love neighbor as self is equally important. That means if I think my main concern is me, Christ says, “OK, now love everyone around you as much as you love yourself.” Self-centeredness and selfishness have little place in Christ’s Kingdom. If I think I am important, I should treat those around me as important as if they were me. Treat others as you wished they treated you. “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
Many saints through the centuries have reminded us of the importance of loving others, including St Simeon the New Theologian:
St Simeon stresses that Christians should look upon all people with the same love as they would Christ himself. They should be ready to give even their life for them. They should not regard anyone as evil, but see all people as good. Even when they perceive that some brother is being tempted by the devil and troubled by passions, they should hate the passion and not the brother who is assailed by them. (Anestis Keselopoulos, MAN AND THE ENVIRONMENT, p 112)
If we see Christ in all others, we will treat them as we would treat Christ if He were in our presence.