Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself—Matt. 22:39. 

You would not want your neighbor to use brain and tongue in evil surmises and slanders against you; and you should not do so to him. The law of the Lord commands that all under His Covenant shall take heed not to utter one solitary suspicion against a neighbor; and that if suspicion beyond knowledge be forced upon the mind by associated circumstances, the new mind shall promptly, with its native benevolence, counterbalance the suspicions by suggestions of the possibility of misinformation or misinterpretation and always give the apparently guilty the benefit of the doubt—Z '99, 72 (R 2442). 

Every free moral agent is our neighbor, regardless of race, nationality, sex, station, age, clime, relation or plane of being. Especially do we have two classes of neighbors, i.e., those in Adam and those in Christ. Some neighbors are nearer than others; and their varying degrees of nearness to us govern our varying degrees of obligation to them. Thus we are under more obligation to our families than to strangers, to the consecrated than to the tentatively justified, and to the tentatively justified than to the unjustified. The following seems to be the practical application of this text: to give our neighbor the same good will and service as we, ruled by our knowledge of the Lord's will pertaining to the circumstances, would have him give us, if we were in his place, and he in ours. This is the rule of duty love, i.e., justice toward our fellows. Sacrifice in violation of this rule is unacceptable to God—P '32, 197. 

Parallel passages: Lev. 19:18; Mic. 6:8; Matt. 7:12; 9:13; Mark 12:31; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2 Pet. 1:7; 1 John 3:18. 

Hymns: 166, 165, 95, 196, 198, 267, 125. 

Poems of Dawn, 124: "God Bless You!" 

Tower Reading: Z '15, 168 (R 5699). 

Questions: Did I this week love my neighbor as myself? What were the circumstances and results? 


I SEEK in prayerful words, dear friend, 

My heart's true wish to send you, 

That you may know that far or near 

My loving thoughts attend you! 

I cannot find a truer word, 

Nor fonder to caress you; 

Nor song nor poem I have heard 

Is sweeter than "God bless you!" 

"God bless you!" so I've wished you all 

Of brightness life possesses; 

For can there any joy at all 

Be yours unless God blesses! 

"God bless you!" so I breathe a charm, 

Lest grief's dark night oppress you, 

For how can sorrow bring you harm, 

If 'tis God's way to bless you! 


"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."—Matthew 22:39

THESE words were quoted by our Lord in His summarizing of the Ten Commandments. Dividing the Ten Commandments into two parts, He showed that one part related to the duty and obligation toward God, and the other to the duty and obligation toward fellowmen, toward the neighbor. The first part calls for all the love of our heart, our being, our mind, our strength, for the Lord and His service; and the second part, which relates to humanity, calls for us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. 

In a special sense the Jews recognized themselves as being God's people. Therefore under the Law they recognized each other as neighbors; for they were all the people of the Lord. But they thought that while they should cordially love their neighbors, they should hate their enemies—all the outside nations that God did not recognize. However, the fact that God had in the past commanded them to slay or drive out the surrounding nations did not mean that the Jews should hate them and wish to do them real injury. Our Lord seems to indicate that the Jews had taken a wrong view of matters. He taught them that to love their enemies, and to do good to those who persecuted them, was the better way. He showed them that they should have a broad view, a benevolence that would take in all the world. 

To this effect He on one occasion gave them a parable—that of the Good Samaritan. In that parable He pictured a man who was not a Jew ministering to a Jew who had been injured. A Jewish priest had seen the wounded man and had passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, not so close in relationship to God as the priest, is represented as looking at the man and then also passing on the other side. Then came this stranger, a Samaritan, one not in relationship to God at all. The Samaritan promptly served the injured man—anointed him and bound up his wounds. The man had been assaulted, robbed and maltreated. The Samaritan "set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him." He remained over night with the injured man, and when he left in the morning he gave some money to the inn-keeper and said to him, "Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee." (Luke 10:29-35.) Jesus declared that in this Samaritan of the parable they had an example of one who was a real neighbor. 

This parable is also for our instruction today. If we appreciate the conception of a true neighbor which our Lord gave, and say that we have the same conception, then let us observe this Golden Rule: Whatsoever I would have you do unto me, let me do even so unto you. And if you feel that if you were on the roadside, plundered and injured by highwaymen, you would wish that some one would help you, then do the same to others, if you have opportunity. And so in all things. From this viewpoint the whole world are neighbors, no matter how far apart they are—whether they live on our side of the earth or on the opposite side. This the broad, general view shows our relationship and obligation to all the world, to one the same as another. All are our neighbors. All should be treated in a neighborly way as we have opportunity. There is no exception. 

It will not do to say that one should be kind merely to those who have been kind to him, that to such only are we to act the part of a neighbor. In that event, the Samaritan would not have been the neighbor. He might have thought that as nobody had found him by the wayside and done anything for him, he consequently would not do anything either. The Lord, in this parable, and in His statement of the spirit of the Law as related to our fellow-men, was laying down a principle that all should be neighbors and treat each other in a kind, neighborly manner, which is the only proper rule amongst mankind. We are to express our love for our neighbor by being thoughtful and considerate of his welfare and interests, and helpful to him as far as is in our power, other obligations being considered. 

When we come to the Church, there is a special relationship and bond between its members. We are to love one another as Jesus loved us. This is a new commandment. The Golden Rule is not a new commandment; for it properly belonged to man when God created him, and is designed to be the rule of life. The Jewish Law, as it related to the attitude of the people of Israel toward one another, had for its essence the Golden Rule. But Jesus said to His disciples, "A new commandment I give unto you." He meant this: Those who have become New Creatures have a new relationship; they belong to a new family—the family of God. 

Our brethren on the spirit plane are nearest to us of any. Whoever is a New Creature, and thus a brother to all those who are New Creatures, is not merely to observe the Golden Rule, but is to be ready to do toward any and all of the brethren as Jesus did; namely, to lay down his life for them. He is not to say, "I would lay down my life for him, and so I expect him to be willing to lay down his life for me." No! Regardless of his own interests and life, regardless of what others do or do not for him, he is to be willing to spend and be spent for the blessing of the brethren. He is to have sacrificial love, which goes beyond the Golden Rule. Thus are we to be true disciples.