How did Christ define the word “Neighbour (Plesion Grk.)? “According to Christ, any other human irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet” is our neighbour. By the very nature of the word “Refugee” I would say we all, Christian or not, stand a chance to meet our displaced neighbour. The meeting itself, where it is or when it is, is not the issue. How we act toward our neighbor when we meet, is.
When Christ implored me to “Love my neighbour as I loved myself” it caused me great pains. Why? The biggest reason, I didn’t love myself, therefore loving my neighbor wasn’t possible. The other reason, I had no idea who my neighbour was. Oh! I knew the couple that lived next door to me and those living on my block. But, does the “human neighbourhood” really stop there? Sometimes I find myself thinking so small, like I am in my own little world. For the longest time I defined my “Neighbor” as someone who liked me, thought like me, liked what I liked, someone that believed how I believed, and of course my neighbor had to make me feel safe. What a narrow and fearful mindset. In order to overcome my fearful mindset I heeded the words of the Apostle John. John said, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear is by suspicion, but he who fears is not grown up in love.” (1 John 4:18 AB)
My relationship with Christ, and after having spent months imbedded with Muslims as a Military Advisor has helped changed the narrow and fearful paths my mind used to travel. Loving our neighbor, a human being made in God’s Image, may not be convenient and may not be easy. However, I do not think Christ would have commanded us to do so if it wasn’t worth it. Christ never hesitated to accept and love me. When I came to know Him I was a refugee from a nation of unbelief. Now, as I glance over the media’s usage of the word “refugee” the love of Christ (Perfect Love) blocks out those letters and replaces them with “Neighbour.”
As a Christian the directive, right, and privilege to love perfectly is inherently ours. The decision to allow fear to overpower perfect love is generated by the opposite of Grace. Yet both are still a decision.