He wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In answer to this question, Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan. It is familiar to us all. We see the priest and the Levite move to the other side of the road and pass by the stricken man. Then comes the Samaritan, representing a person despised by the Jews. Jesus was asked to confirm what he meant by the word ‘neighbor and this is the example he chose. The Samaritan loves the unknown person he dislikes, and treats him with respect. The story ends with the directive; “Go and do likewise”.
We may well ask the same question trying to justify ourselves. Who is the person I would walk to the other side of the road to avoid? Who are those affected by the decisions I may support that increase planetary devastation? Who are my neighbors being deprived of their legitimate rights as citizens? Who are the strangers I want to exclude? Who are those who are outside my circle of acceptance? Our love for our neighbor is tested when other people need our help the most. Who is my neighbor?
Go, do in like manner.
When do you try to justify yourself in deciding who your neighbor is? How does this square with the opinion of Jesus?
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
And he said to him, “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.
Agape, the love of each one of us for the other, from the closest to the furthest, is in fact the only way that Jesus has given us to find the way of salvation and of the Beatitudes.
How seldom we weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves!
Thomas à Kempis
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.
The real problem of our existence lies in the fact that we ought to love one another, but do not.
If I try to understand what it means to be a Christian, I look at the two instructions that were given in the Bible that are paramount, and those are to love God with all your heart and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it.
Not everyone is your brother or sister in the faith, but everyone is your neighbor, and you must love your neighbor.
The hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self — to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.
Barbara Brown Taylor
Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s what we need to adopt to be a better country.
The Church does an enormous amount of good, and it carries one of the most valuable messages imaginable – that you should love your neighbor as yourself, and that if you have two coats you should give one to the man who has none.
I guess the greatest cliché we’ve ever heard, but the most important words spoken, is, love, you know, love your neighbor and, as you would yourself. It’s a biblical term, it’s important, and it’s embraced by every religion and yet it seems to be a far cry from what we’re experiencing today.