As John writes in his first epistle letter, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer.” Reading this passage, two things came to mind. First, is that love is the exact opposite of murder. When we fail to love our neighbor, it doesn’t necessarily mean we hate them, it’s worse. It means we do not care at all. We don’t notice them, we don’t show any concern for them; basically, they are transparent to us. We may not cross to the other side as the two did in the parable of the Good Samaritan, but we ignore them nonetheless. Hate at least comes with emotions toward the other, ambivalence has no connection whatsoever.
The second thing that came to mind was Luther’s explanation to the 5th commandment. The commandment states, “You shall not murder.” Luther explains the command from the perspective of love. According to Luther, “we should fear and love God that we may not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need.” When we truly love our neighbor according to Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, we not only show compassion, but we help them in every way possible, even to the point of great personal expense. Such is the example of Christ, who gave his life for the sake of his neighbors, that we might live with God forever.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to truly love my neighbor as you taught, no matter the cost. In Jesus’ name. Amen.