It’s a simple statement with powerful implications, especially now. In uncertain times like these, we’re reflecting on what it looks like to love our neighbor as we love ourself.
The Bible has some wisdom to offer in this area:
- “‘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.'” Matthew 22:37-39
- “Love does no harm to a neighbor.” Romans 13:10
- “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Romans 15:2
- “It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.” Proverbs 14:21
- “Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life.” Leviticus 19:16
- “But you- who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12
And who is our neighbor? That’s the question asked by a lawyer in the New Testament who wanted to justify himself to Jesus. He must have been feeling pretty good how he treated his narrowly-defined neighbors. But Jesus threw a curveball, per the usual, and responded with the story of the Samaritan who saved the life of an enemy Jew.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:43-44