Letter Best: Who is my neighbor?

November 25, 2012 


As the holidays approach, there is a swirl of "charity" activity to feed and clothe the poor. In Christian theology, charity is the most excellent of the virtues and extends not only to the love of God, but also to loving our neighbors as ourselves. In essence, charity is the ultimate perfection of the human spirit.

I often wonder why so many American Christians do not seem to understand what "love thy neighbor as yourself" really means or why the practice of social justice is rarely associated with the word charity.

Most people, including our "neighbors," desire to earn a sustainable and equitable wage, live in affordable and decent housing, have adequate medical care, feel safe and secure in our community, ensure that our children receive a good education, and feel valued as the human brothers and sisters we are. It seems to me that if Christians want to honor God, then we must seek, fight for, and preserve social justice for all our "neighbors," as Jesus has commanded us to do.

It is only through this quest for justice that we come to understand God's will and what the word charity and loving our neighbors as ourselves really means.

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