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Who Is My Neighbor?

The essence of true Christianity is showing supreme love for God and impartial love to our “neighbors” (Luke 10:25-37). Upon learning this, many feel justified that God is not requiring them to love everyone, just those who are close by. Nationalism focuses on borders and territory.

Homeward Bound

On July 4 we celebrate the freedoms we currently enjoy as citizens of the United States, and I am grateful for the many blessings that come with living in this country. However, America is not my home. Rather, it is a temporary island of refuge—a waiting “room” that provides shelter for the last leg of my journey. The country I claim as home has a different form of government, a different flag, and a different kind of leader. There are no hospitals, church denominations, cemeteries, banks, police or fire stations, or racial divisions. There is no poverty, pollution, corruption, or hoarding of resources. In that place, the things that are treasured most are viewed here with suspicion and scorn.

I think of America as an expanded version of Ellis Island—that iconic place where hundreds and thousands of our ancestors (immigrants) passed through on their way to a better life. The Statute of Liberty was, and is, a symbol of hope to those who long for freedom and opportunity!

In a similar way, the United States is not the end-all, but only a means to an end. The end is the heavenly country that Abraham saw. He saw it from afar, yet from his grave he continues to await entry.

While I wait, my desire is to make the experience as pleasant as possible—for everyone. In fact, the only people who will be able to enter into forever-living are those who accept (in this life) heaven’s one rule that is known as “the Golden Rule.” The rule says that we are to treat others as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). “Others” includes everyone, including those who are old, young, black, white, brown, yellow, red, religious, non-religious, domestic, foreign, people who are mean, or nice, Democrat, Republican, Independent, gay, straight, you name it! Everyone means every one! This is life’s greatest test! To love everyone! Not everything they do, but each one!

There is no way I can love everyone without outside help, which is why I ask God each day to give me his Spirit.

“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:9-10, NLT).

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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