Proximity

I'm curious why Jesus uses the term neighbor so often.  Why love your 'neighbor' as yourself?  In reality, I don't even know my neighbors.  Oh, I smile and wave, but to be honest, I can't remember their names. (And I've lived here for 5 years.)

Why does the 10th commandment talk about not coveting your 'neighbor's' stuff?  Why does so much of the Jewish law have to do with interactions between 'neighbors.' Why does James say, "who are you to judge your neighbor?"

If the choice of word is deliberate, then there must be something important about proximity.  And while it would seem we have a responsibility to share resources with those who do not have them on a global scale, it would appear that God is much more concerned with the interactions that occur on a closer level.  The people we live life with, work with, share a home with...

Maybe it is no small coincidence that it is actually easier to love people you don't really know.  Giving shoes to children in Uganda or helping at a homeless shelter is far easier than our dealings with our spouses, in-laws and co-workers.  After all, I really can't see myself saying something snotty to an orphan in Guatamala....but I've definitely done that to John.

If you think about it...we often fall in love with people we don't really know...romances, friendships, even causes and ideas. Staying 'in love.'  Now, that takes practice.  And it would seem, that is the part that God really, really cares about.
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall