Love Your Neighbor

Don’t Get Mad – Get Even – Do To Others As They Do To You

Ed, my neighbor next door, quotes scripture that suits his purposes. Ed really likes to repeat from the Bible, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Ed even takes delight in taking something from the Bible and twisting it to suit his own thinking. Ed takes, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,” and adds his own words to God’s. This is Ed’s version, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy unless your neighbor is your enemy then hate him too.”

According to Ed, justice was better in the Old Testament. Ed believes that Jesus perverted justice when Jesus instructed people, “Not to resist the one who is evil and to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Ed claims that retaliation results in justice. He explains that, when I poke out your eye, and then you poke out my eye, then we are even. Ed says that it is as simple as, “Render evil for evil and good for good.” Ed is convinced that the Bible should say do unto to others as they do to you.

I prefer how the Bible says that we should do to others as we would want them to do to us. To return good for good is very human and ordinary. We tend to love those who love us, and we do good to those who do good to us. The Bible calls us to the holiness of God the Father and Jesus his Son. To return good for evil is divine and is the example Jesus set before us.

In both the Old and New Testaments, there is a holy concern for our neighbors that calls us to stretch and strive to be holy as the Lord our God is Holy. Jesus prayed for his enemies who were persecuting and crucifying him. God sends his sun to warm the evil and the good, and He sends life giving rain to the just and unjust. God gives endless blessings to us that we don’t deserve. His love is bigger than our limited justice, and our conditional willingness to love others. God has a concern for the highest good of both those who love him and those who don’t.

Jesus was holy as God his Father in heaven is holy. God connects us with his own holiness through our faith in Jesus Christ. God has made human beings in his Holy image and calls us to become holy as he is holy. In Leviticus, God’s word tells the people to share their food supply with the poor and the alien. They were not leaving any little bits of grain or grapes when harvesting so the poor could have food. God’s word tells the people to speak the truth and to deal with their neighbors fairly and honestly in all business matters. They must stop abusing the poor and handicapped. Among their own friends and family members, they must stop hating, bearing grudges and seeking revenge.

Jesus teaches in the New Testament that we are to leave retaliation towards an enemy to God and seek his good. So we pray for our enemy, and do good towards him when we have the opportunity.


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