Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 13: 10

 

It is my opinion that God’s understanding of neighbor might be different from mine. When I think of neighbors, my mind brings up a gallery of the faces and the names of the people whose homes are within line of sight from my own. These are the people who I encounter when I walk the dog or work outside of my house. It would never occur to me to do them harm or to perpetrate evil against them as that is the actual meaning of the word behind the “wrong” here. These are people who I care about and would care for if they had a need. These are people who I reach out to know and to enter into relationship with.

 

These relationships work to reinforce the fact that I would not violate any of God’s law when it comes to these neighbors. By virtue of their proximity, I have developed a form of family relationship with them. Yet, I think that God means much more by neighbors than just street addresses that are near to mine. He views our world with a much wider lens than I tend to do. God sees people that are beyond my immediate grasp at the same time as He looks upon my life and speaks His purpose into it. In some ways the Lord considers neighborliness in the way that the desert dwelling nomadic people do. A neighbor is someone who you encounter regardless of his of her nationality, status, or religious beliefs. No one on this earth is outside of the boundaries of neighbor.

 

God views neighbors as people to be care about and for, to be embraced with hospitality, and to be loved sacrificially. Thus, God calls upon His people to set aside our natural focus on differences and to reach out from the walls of our self-protection so that we can look all people in the eye and open our arms of welcome to them. As we engage in these acts of neighborliness, we are bringing Christ into the lives of people who need Him as much as we do. When we love those who are different and even frightening to us, we are entering into the fulfillment of the law that is Jesus Christ