There is a religious principle: Love thy neighbour as thyself. But it's also an economic asset. If you've got a neighbour, you've got help, and this implies another limit. If you want to have neighbours, you can't have a limitless growth economy. You have to prefer to have a neighbour rather than to own your neighbour farm.
If we pursue our habit of eating animals, and if our neighbour follows a similar path, will we need to go to war against our neighbour to secure greater pasturage, because ours will not be enough to sustain us, and our neighbour will have a similar need to wage war on us for the same reason.
We instinctively tend to limit for whom we exert ourselves. We do it for people like us, and for people whom we like. Jesus will have none of that. By depicting a Samaritan helping a Jew, Jesus could not have found a more forceful way to say that anyone at all in need - regardless of race, politics, class, and religion - is your neighbour. Not everyone is your brother or sister in faith, but everyone is your neighbour, and you must love your neighbour.
The Umbrella Ion Bulbuk has bought an umbrella. 'Knock-knock' - it is a neighbour at the door. 'It is going to rain, Ion. Give me your umbrella, please.' 'It is not in the house, ' lied Bulbuk. It rains... Bulbuk is walking wet in the yard, for the neighbour to see that the umbrella is not at home. But the neighbour is not watching. He went in the village for his business.
For us Christians, love of neighbour springs from love of God; and it is its most limpid expression. Here one tries to love one's neighbour, but also to allow oneself to be loved by one's neighbour. These two attitudes go together, one cannot be exercised without the other. Printed on the letterhead of the Missionaries of Charity are these words of Jesus: "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me". Loving God in our brethren and loving our brethren in God.
If a pot can multiply. One day Nasrudin lent his cooking pots to a neighbour, who was giving a feast. The neighbour returned them, together with one extra one "" a very tiny pot. 'What is this?' asked Nasrudin. 'According to law, I have given you the offspring of your property which was born when the pots were in my care,' said the joker. Shortly afterwards Nasrudin borrowed his neighbour's pots, but did not return them. The man came round to get them back. 'Alas!' said Nasrudin, 'they are dead. We have established, have we not, that pots are mortal?'.
If a pot can multiply. One day Nasrudin lent his cooking pots to a neighbour, who was giving a feast. The neighbour returned them, together with one extra one - a very tiny pot. 'What is this?' asked Nasrudin. 'According to law, I have given you the offspring of your property which was born when the pots were in my care, ' said the joker. Shortly afterwards Nasrudin borrowed his neighbour's pots, but did not return them. The man came round to get them back. 'Alas!' said Nasrudin, 'they are dead. We have established, have we not, that pots are mortal?'.
We find our own way to right action, and tread it as we go. He who tells his neighbour what he, the neighbour, should do in given circumstances is a fool. He does not and he cannot know. 'If I were you' is a silly beginning to any remark. You are not, and you never will be anyone else. Mind your own business; it is, or should be, a full-time task for twenty-four hours a day.
All disasters stem from us. Why is there a war? Perhaps because now and then I might be inclined to snap at my neighbour. Because I and my neighbour and everyone else do not have enough love. Yet we could fight war and all its excrescences by releasing each day, the love which is shackled inside us, and giving it a chance to live.
By the experience of active love. Strive to love your neighbour actively and indefatigably. In as far as you advance in love you will grow surer of the reality of God and of the immortality of your soul. If you attain to perfect self-forgetfulness in the love of your neighbour, then you will believe without doubt, and no doubt can possibly enter your soul. This has been tried. This is certain.
All round there was a rising tide of beer, widow Desir's barrels had all been broached, beer had rounded all paunches and was overflowing in all directions, from noses, eyes - and elsewhere. People were so blown out and higgledy-piggledy, that everybody's elbows or knees were sticking into his neighbour and everybody thought it great fun to feel his neighbour's elbows. All mouths were grinning from ear to ear in continuous laughter.
By the law of Christ, every man is bound to love his neighbour as himself; but every servant is a neighbour of every civil lord; therefore every civil lord must love any of his servants as himself; but by natural instinct, every lord abhors slavery; therefore, by the law of charity, he is bound not to impose slavery on any brother in Christ.
On the first day of May the people of the crofter townland are up betimes and busy as bees about to swarm. This is the day of migrating, bho baile gu beinn (from townland to moorland), from the winter homestead to the summer sheiling. The summer of their joy is come, the summer of the sheiling, the song, the pipe and the dance, when the people ascend the hill to the clustered bothies, overlooking the distant sea from among the fronded ferns and fragrant heather, where neighbour meets neighbour, and lover meets lover.
A Christian society is not going to arrive until most of us really want it: and we are not going to want it until we become fully Christian. I may repeat "Do as you would be done by" till I am black in the fact, but I cannot really carry it out till I love my neighbour as myself: and I cannot learn to love my neighbour as myself till I learn to love God: and I cannot learn to love God except by learning to obey Him. And so, as I warned you, we are driven on to something more inward - driven on from social matters to religious matters.
C. S. Lewis