Neighborly Love

by Krista Nadeau

“Now what did they get?”  

Each week something new was unloaded from their vehicle. A windfall for my neighbor. To their face, nothing but happiness. Week after week something new showed up. It’s sad to admit, that after a few weeks, I became envious. Soon, I felt guilty about being envious. There are so many negative emotions like envy such as jealousy, rage, hate, just to name a few, and they are all destructive emotions.  

Knowing better and feeling the ramifications of this negative emotion, praying for my neighbor became a daily thing. I prayed that they would have everything I wanted for my family— eventually I meant it and eventually the envy disappeared. People should want good things for others, at least that’s what I had learned. 

Neighbor is described by Merriam-Webster as “one living or located near another.” Thinking comprehensively, neighbor means something much greater—a kindred human being or ALL mankind. This global definition makes the adage “love your neighbor as yourself” much harder to fathom and seemingly difficult to carry out. Today, with the division that we all know exists, why, or how can we love our neighbors- as in all human beings? Who is our neighbor?  

There is a parable in the Bible that tells us who our neighbor is and how to love them as ourselves—as the story goes, there was a man, who had been beaten badly by some robbers and left on the side of the road, stripped of his clothing and helpless. A priest and a Levite, both of the same religion as the beaten man, see him but cross the road to avoid dealing with him. Finally, a Samaritan, who was of a different religion, and back then, would have probably been despised by the others, stopped and helped the man. The Samaritan bandaged his wounds, covered him, put him on his donkey and brought him to an innkeeper in town. Paying for the man’s stay, the Samaritan told the innkeeper he would be back in a few days and would pay for any extra expenses. This is known as the parable as the Good Samaritan and speaks to what it means to be a good neighbor, to be kind, to help, to have concern for others.  

Later in the passage, Jesus asks, “which of these three men was a good neighbor?” 

“The one who had mercy on him.” 

Jesus replied, “Go and do likewise.” 

Buddhist compassion is described as “the result of knowing one is part of a greater whole and is interdependent and connected to that whole.” More mankind thinking. Expressing neighborly love is easier if you like the person and not so easy if you have an issue with a person or group of people. Show love and kindness anyway, to as many people as you can.

It turns out love is a universal language. Love is a staple of life and something everyone longs for. Love can bring healing and peace. Of course, the person receiving love benefits but love and compassion have been found to have health benefits for the giver as well, such as reducing stress, increasing mental and physical wellbeing, and yes, some experts suggest it may even increase our lifespan. 

Following are some examples of how to love your neighbor: show peace by being tolerant and civil, be kind, even if it means just a smile, be fair, be generous, listen more and talk less. Above all, just be a good human who cares about others, who can see beyond self and treat people how you want to be treated—it’s that easy.

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