3.25 Love Your Neighbor
Hidden away in the midst of these rules and punishments ("do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind" (Lev 19:14), "do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life" (Lev 19:16)) is this gem:
"Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord" (Lev 19:18).
This is a law that is really a "meta-law," a principle of conduct that underlies other laws. Jesus elevates it to a corollary of the Great Commandment:
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Mat 22:36-40).
It is clear that the Scriptures, both Old and New, extend the boundaries of "neighbor" very widely. Leviticus includes aliens, as we have seen, and Jesus includes Samaritans (Lk 10:33). Certainly, the limits cross racial boundaries.