Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

  This famous saying has its origin in the Jewish Commandments said to be revealed to Moses by the Lord and forming the creed of the Jews and the Christians all those who accept the teaching of the Old Testament. Some of the commandments are negative as Thou shalt not kill and considering that to avoid is easier than actually doing a thing positively the Commandment and such others as require on our part the doing of something or the persistent attempt to give a particular turn to our nature must be more difficult to practice. Avoiding too is difficult but when all is considered it requires a less intelligent effort to avoid but to guide and shape one's course of life requires understanding planning and constant watchfulness and acting. One must all the time be on the lookout to be kind and charitable to others and seek occasions when one can prove to one's own satisfaction that one is not selfish or limited in one's affections. For nothing short of this is the meaning of these words and that will show how difficult it is to practice them. 
Who is a neighbour as used in this connection? Not certainly the person living next door or living in the next street or in the next town or village. If that were the meaning the whole purpose of the moral teaching contained in the saying would be defeated. Neighbour stands for all mankind for all who lives breathe and exist. Love and sympathy charity and kindness are to be given to all and not to be limited to one's family tribe race nation or community. This is therefore an idealistic utterance calling upon us to shed our selfishness pettiness and partisanship and to make no distinctions. To lose oneself in others and to lead a selfless life that is its support.
On account of its being an idealistic saying it is impossible to fully practise it. All that one can do is to realize its true meaning and significance and to put oneself in the way of molding one's life in accordance with it. This is not a merely prudent saying calling upon us to do this or that because of some advantage accruing from it to ourselves. There is no consideration of loss or gain entering here. We are not told to love our neighbour in order that that may make him love us in return or that in that way we will avoid conflicts with others. No such selfish motives enter into it. This is a purely moral and religious attitude calling upon us to practise a noble ideal in the disinterested spirit of performing a duty. without expecting anything in return. We may even be prepared in practicing this for disappointment scorn and hostility. We may even be prepared in practicing this for disappointment scorn and hostility. We must cast our bread upon the waters according to another noble Christian saying and even though we may be left in the minority of one we must keep the flg of truth and goodness flying. What is advocated is a change of heart not a show of formal activity. So this love of others in order to be real must be sincere undemonstrative and disinterested.

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