The Neighbor We Are to Love Is Humankind on a Wider Scale in the Form of Smaller and Larger Communities and Humankind in the Aggregate as a Country of Such Communities

People who do not know what “our neighbor” really means think that it simply means an individual human being; benefiting that human being is loving our neighbor. Yet our neighbor, and love for our neighbor, also extends more widely than that–in fact it rises as the number of people increases.

Surely everyone understands that loving many people in a group involves more love for our neighbor than loving an individual member of that group. Therefore smaller and larger communities are also out neighbor, because they are a plurality of people. It follows that someone who loves a community loves the individuals who are part of that community; someone who wishes a community well and gives benefit to it cares for its individuals.

A community is like a person. In fact, the people who make up the community forms single body, in a sense. They are differentiated from each other like the parts of a single body. When the Lord looks at the earth, he sees an entire community as an individual person; the form of that individual person is based on the qualities of the people in the community. The Lord gives this sight to angels as well. In fact, I have been allowed to see a community in heaven completely in the form of an individual person; the person had the same proportions as people in the world.

Love for a community is a fuller form of love for our neighbor than love for a single individual. This is clear from the fact that high positions are given to people according to their previous leadership of large groups. They have a level of status according to the job they do. In the world, in fact, positions in a hierarchy are considered to be higher or lower based on how wide a governmental responsibility these positions have over other people. The monarch is the person who has the widest government of all. Each person gets pay, glory, and general admiration according to the scope of position and also the useful functions performed.

But in this day and age, leaders may be useful and care for a community and still not love their neighbor. They perform functions and show concerns for the sake of the world or themselves in order to deserve, or look as if they deserve, promotion to higher positions. Although these people may not be identified as such in the world, they are identified as such in heaven. People who have performed useful services out of love for their neighbor are put in leadership positions over a heavenly community as well; there they have splendor and honor. Yet still they do not take that splendor or honor to heart, just the usefulness. The rest, however, who were useful because they loved the world or themselves, are rejected.

from True Christianity, Section 412

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