We can think of a thousand reasons why someone should not be considered our neighbor, but Jesus will not allow us. You want to experience intimacy with God, you want to know how to read God’s mind, you must be loyal to serving your neighbor with justice, mercy, and peace.
It is impossible for us to exercise loyalty to justice, mercy, and peace on our own. The kind of justice, mercy, and peace that God expects and commands of us requires a power that is not naturally within us. That is why we must first learn to live out the first commandment. We must then allow God’s love to overflow into a love of ourselves and love of our neighbors. We are as the hymn says, “Prone to wander” or as Jesus says, “incapable of bearing this kind of fruit without remaining connected to the vine” (John 15:15). The more we allow ourselves to receive God’s love, the more we return love to God, the more natural it will be for us to love our neighbors.