LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR
Dallas Willard (1935-2013) wrote, “A common usage of the word neighbor today locates the neighbor as one who lives “next door” or close by. A “next-door” neighbor is one with a special degree of intimacy, in this understanding, and there is something to that. But in this understanding my most important neighbor is overlooked: the one who lives with me—my family, or others taken in by us. They are the ones I am most intimately engaged with in my life. They are the ones who first and foremost I am to love as I love myself. If only this were done, nearly every problem in families would be resolved, and the love would spread to others.
But our closest intimates frequently are also the ones we have hurt most and been hurt by. Here is where the fellowship of disciples comes in, and where the higher standard of “as I have loved you” can/should/would create a context of restoration of compassion and love for those near us in life. The local assembly or congregation would, realistically, act like a hospital, with various people at various states of treatment and recovery. Then we move outward in love to those around us in the natural connections of life.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus