“You shall love your neighbor.” Mark 12:31
“Love you neighbor.” Perhaps he rolls in riches, and you are poor, and living in your little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion. Every day you see his estates, his fine linen, and his sumptuous banquets. God has given him these gifts; do not covet his wealth, and do not think hard thoughts concerning him. Be content with your own lot, if you cannot better it, but do not look upon your neighbor, and wish that he were like yourself. Love him, and then you will not envy him.
Perhaps, on the other hand, you are rich, and the poor reside near you. Do not scorn to call them neighbor. Own that you are bound to love them. The world calls them your inferiors. In what are they inferior? They are far more your equals than your inferiors, for God “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” It is your coat which is better than theirs? But you are by no means better than them. They are men, and what are you more than that? Take heed that you love your neighbor even though he is in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty.
But, perhaps, you say, “I cannot love my neighbors, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt.” So much more room for the heroism of love. Would you be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, will win the most. And if your path of love is rough, tread it boldly, still loving your neighbors through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they are hard to please, do not seek to please them, but to please your Master. And remember if they spurn your love, your Master has not spurned it, and your deed is as acceptable to him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love your neighbor, for in so doing you are following the footsteps of Christ.
Adapted from Morning and Evening.