Matthew 5:43-48 states, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.".
The saying "love your neighbor" is commonplace in the world around us today. It is supposedly the duty of all men to love one another, thus making the world a better place. There have been books published that promote the love of the neighbor by God's love for them. To analyze this saying correctly, we must ask ourselves three questions. 1) Who is our neighbor? 2) On what basis do we love our neighbor? 3) How do we love our neighbor?.
The definition of neighbor according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is, "a person who lives next to or near another person." This definition is very broad and applies to a wide range of people. Our neighbor could be the person in the next seat, in the next office, in the next building, or in the next country. In Luke 10: 29-37 we learn of a man who asked Jesus the same question, who is my neighbor? Jesus went on to tell of a man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves. A priest came in the way and passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levite came and when he saw the man he also passed on the other side. Finally, a Samaritan, when he saw him, had compassion upon him. Jesus then posed the question straight back at the man saying "Which of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves.