Honor your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
It is very dangerous for a man to care for himself, and not for anybody else; and it is even more dangerous for a man to expend himself on other persons, and neglect or care nothing for himself. The danger is as great, and, if possible, greater, when the law of self is paralyzed, than when the law of benevolence itself is paralyzed. These two laws must work under mutual restraint. They are antithetical. They are counterparts. They are complements the one of the other. To care for yourself is an indispensable pre-requisite of caring for anybody else. If this be so, then, first, to rear up children to be cared for, and not to learn to care for themselves, is to make them self-indulgent, soft, worthless. Secondly. Any method of charity which weakens or destroys self-reliance is not charitable, but is cruel. Thirdly. It is therefore dangerous to interfere with the law of suffering. Suffering is as beneficent as enjoying. Indeed suffering is better than enjoying under certain circumstances. If a man have a diseased brain, and the whole world to him sparkles with fantastic visions of pleasure, and if, in order to restore him to a healthful and normal condition, it is necessary to put a blister on the nape of his neck, then in his case surgery, with all its attendant suffering, is better than the pleasing sights and sounds that he sees and hears. Charity should be so directed as that it shall inspire men to avoid the reasons of suffering, and as that it shall make suffering, when it cannot be avoided, educate men to bear it till they can get out of it. An easy relief of suffering not only is unwise as it relates to humanity, but it is contrary to the fundamental principles on which the globe has been organized. This leads me to say, fourthly, that the social tendencies and theories which are beginning to be preached are demoralizing and dangerous, and to no other part of the community so much as to those who are seeking to better their condition by promulgating them.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.