neighbor

The term in the Gospels is stripped of all national restriction or limitations, and denotes all our fellow men without distinction. In the fundamental text (Matthew 5:43), Christ rejects the distinction between neighbor and enemy, and teaches that the enemy who hates, persecutes, and calumniates His disciple, is to be loved, to be prayed for, and done good to. The enemy is to be treated as the Old Testament commanded to treat the neighbor, and thus any man, whatever his feelings or attitude may be towards us, is our neighbor. The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), illustrates this teaching by showing that neighbor includes in a special manner our fellowman in need. The one who proceeds to help the unfortunate in need, without inquiring into his race, religion, etc., answers truly the notion of neighbor. The precept of love of the neighbor is one of supreme importance; it is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7). The measure of that love is the love which we have naturally for our own selves (Matthew 19). We should do to our neighbor, therefore, all the good we would wish done to ourselves (Matthew 7). There must be no selfish motive, for this would spoil our love in the eyes of God (Luke 14). In love of the neighbor there can be no room for hatred, or any kindred feeling, in the heart of the disciple; hence one will always be ready and willing to forgive (Matthew 18). An unforgiving attitude on our part would move God to refuse us the forgiveness of our debts to Him (Matthew 6). Love of the neighbor will prevent us from judging him, bearing in mind our own shortcomings and weaknesses (Matthew 7), make us willing to do everything possible to save him (Matthew 18). Even when the neighbor shows bad will and persecutes us (Matthew 5), or remains impenitent, and for the sake of the general good, has to be cut off from the communion of the Church (Matthew 18), he remains our neighbor with the claims upon us involved in that term (Matthew 5).