By this all people will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.
The only kind of love that makes sense if we are to love our neighbor is agape. Agape is love that extends beyond emotions. It is not a feeling or sentiment. Agape or selfless love is a love extended to all people. In the New Testament it denotes the unconditional love of God forhumans and the human reciprocal love for God. This is the context in which we are called to love our neighbor. Agape requires faithfulness, commitment, and sacrifice without expecting anything in return. It is concerned with the greatest good of another. It isn’t born out of emotions, feelings, familiarity, or attraction, but as a choice. It demonstrates love through actions. The world would work so much better if Christians took the gospel seriously! Instead of being divided or malicious, we would put the best interpretation on everything. Living in a generous and positive light, we would seek the most equitable solutions to our disputes. Caring about others, we would work to eliminate, poverty, and hunger. We would find actual ways to welcome them in their need rather than excluding them from our territory. We would not blame others for needing food stamps or begrudge them health care. We would not support unjust policies to preserve our own comfort. No one would have to tell us what was just, because we would be concerned that our neighbors came out of any situation as well as we would like to ourselves. We would be recognizable as followers of Jesus.
Let me live filled with God’s love and with concern for the needs of other people.
In what ways can I apply this type of love to those with whom I live and work? How do I relate to others? What is my attitude toward those who are not like me? What standards do I hold in my political civic responsibilities?
“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22: 34 – 40
As long as there is a brother or sister to whom we close our hearts, we will still be far from being disciples as Jesus asks us.
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?
Martin Luther King Jr.
To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.
It’s very important to know the neighbor next door and the people down the street and the people in another race.
If your neighbor has a completely different view on abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, all of those things, you still are both Americans. Neither one of you is necessarily more patriotic than the other. Neither loves their country any more than the other one does.
How seldom we weigh our neighbor in the same balance with ourselves.
Thomas a Kempis
A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.
I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?
It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one’s neighbor.
Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.
Coretta Scott King
Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.
Men think that it is impossible for a human being to love his enemies, for enemies are hardly able to endure the sight of one another. Well, then, shut your eyes–and your enemy looks just like your neighbor.
The rule for us all is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you love your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.
If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.