And Who Is My Neighbor?
Read James 2: 8-9
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Take time to examine your heart. Do you show partiality to certain groups of people over others? Are you loving all of your neighbors as you would love yourself?
In Matthew 22:39, Jesus said that the second greatest commandment is to "Love your neighbor as yourself." But what does it mean to love your neighbor? Was Jesus talking about a vague feeling of affection towards the people around you? No.
Jesus charged us with loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. That kind of love is action. It means taking care of others just as much as you take care of yourself. It means looking out for our neighbors' well-being. It means showing love to our neighbors by striving to meet their needs.
Who are the neighbors Jesus was talking about? The people who live in my neighborhood? The people that I like? The people that are most similar to me?
Jesus clarifies who our neighbors are in Luke 10:25-37. In the parable of the Good Samaritan,
Jesus told the story of a man who cared for another man who had been robbed, beaten, and left on the side of the road. The Samaritan man went out of his way to provide for another he did not know and had just happened upon along the road. He used his own resources to ensure this man's needs were met.
Despite the man's race, despite his condition, despite the fact that the Samaritan did not even know the man, the Samaritan acted with compassion and mercy. He showed love to his neighbor.
Likewise, we are to show love to our neighbors without partiality. Without favoritism. We are to actively show love to anyone that God places in our path regardless of their race, social status, religion, political party, or opinions. If we do not, we are in the wrong according to God's law.
God, it is not easy to love everyone the way that you have commanded. The world promotes hate and division, but you have commanded us to love with a love that unites. Help me to love others as much as you have loved me. Amen.