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  • Writer's pictureTim Anderson

Who is My Neighbor?

There’s a lot going on in the world. Division, disease, distrust, and disgust seem to be running ramped everywhere you turn. But all of it stems from one source. And as it were, all of it can be mended with one antidote.

Most of the worlds issues and problems that we deal with have one foundational root: fear. Conversely, these issues - the problems we are dealing with in todays world - also have one foundational solution: love. In fact, I’ve read somewhere some time ago that “perfect love cast out all fear.”

I know, it probably makes you want to roll your eyes. “The world’s problems are going to be fixed by love - yeah, sure...” Before you hurt your eye muscles from all the rolling, ponder with me.

What is perfect love? Perfect love is complete love. Therefore, complete love casts out all fear. Fear and love are not opposites, by the way. And, if complete love casts out all fear, it pushes fear out and away from us. This means that incomplete love pulls fear into us. Incomplete love draws in fear. Fear creates all our problems, really, incomplete love is the what creates all our problems.

Ok, but what is complete love, then? I think it may be more easy to see the characteristics of complete love to grasp what it is. Complete love compassionate, kind, patient, and understanding. It seeks to listen, to relate, to be open. It is gentle, yet firm. It is quick to hug and to forgive. It never condemns, it never hates. It endures all challenges and holds onto nothing - not emotions, not opinions, not even beliefs. It is without conditions and without defense. Yet, it is steady, stable, and safe. It is perfect.

In contrast, incomplete love is full of conditions - agreeable when agreed with. It is judgmental, opinionated, certain in it’s right-ness, sure in its righteousness. It is quick to draw divisions, quick to accuse, and faster to defend. It seeks to speak, convince, and to be closed to differences. It is tough, yet fragile. It is quick to force its way and unwilling to forgive, and it cannot forget. It defends its positions at all cost. Incomplete love has no stability and it isn’t safe. It has holes, gaps, conditions and crevasses that draw in fear. It’s imperfect.

Great, but how does perfect love solve our problems? Better yet, how can we actually apply perfect love to our problems?

We practice it. We apply it. We live it. Practically speaking, it looks like this: Love your neighbor as yourself.

This is hard. Mainly because we don’t know how to be good neighbors, or we don’t know how to look at our neighbors through loving eyes. But read the “law” again. It says “as yourself.”

If we could open our eyes, if we could see ourselves in the eyes of our neighbors, if we could put on their shoes, get in their clothes, understand their heart, maybe, just maybe, we could begin to love them.

Everyone wants to be happy. Period. You want to be happy. What if you were “them?” What if “they” were you? Do you want to be happy? Yes. Do you think it’s possible they just want to be happy? Yes. Do you ever wonder why your neighbors, “those people,” think the way they do and act the way they do? Do you ever even wonder why you do the things you do? You want to be happy. You want to be loved. So do “they.” Everyone does.

Loving others, seeing yourself in others, is a gateway to becoming open to the hearts, minds and reasons of others. It’s a way to see “people” and not obstacles, a way to see precious lives and not stupid irritants. If we can love, we can listen. If we can listen, we can understand. If we can understand, we can communicate effectively and come together to overcome anything that would keep us from being happy - together.

It is possible for everyone to experience the “Greater Good.” It is possible for everyone to peacefully, safely, experience life, liberty and the pursuit happiness. It is possible to smile, hug, support, and love those that would seem different to us. But they aren’t different from us. If we can truly love, we can see that they are us. They have mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. They have hopes, dreams, and best intentions - just like we do.

If we can truly, completely, love, we can see there is no difference and no separation between any of us. We are the same. We are one. If I can love my neighbor as myself. I can see myself in my neighbor and I can understand my neighbor is also in me.

Perfect Love cast out all fear because it is whole and complete. It has no separations and no divisions. Therefore it has no room for fear. When there is no fear, all problems go away. Not because there aren’t any challenges, but because there is a unified solution and a way forward together. Us in them. Them in us. A unified approach to living the best life and walking out the Greater Good. Together.

Love your neighbor as yourself is not just a cute saying. It’s a practical way to demonstrate, cultivate and experience perfect love in all its power. It’s a way to heal the world. It’s the one foundational solution to all our problems. It’s the one thing we were made to do. The one true thing we were asked to do.


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