Love Your Near

In Matthew 22:39, Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (The Greek reads: “ἀγαπήσεις τoν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.”) What’s interesting here is the word for neighbor, πλησίον. It literally means “near.” With an article it can be used as a noun, becoming “neighbor,” or more literally “the one who is near (you).”

I think this nuance of meaning is helpful. We tend to think of one’s neighbor status as a matter of street address, but really it’s anyone near you. A neighbor is anyone God brings across your path, be it at home, work, traveling, etc. That’s why the story of the Good Samaritan is an illustration of neighborly love. The assaulted man was not a next-door-neighbor, but he was someone near the Samaritan.

Conclusion? You have more neighbors than you think. You have gas station neighbors, grocery store neighbors, pew neighbors, and so many more!

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Derek Griz

I am a Christian, a husband, a father, and a pastor (Immanuel Church). I write from those perspectives. Connect with me on Twitter (@derekgriz).