The “Inner Recognition of Truth” That Is Faith Is Found Only in People Who Are Devoted to Caring (Continued)

Since caring is love for our neighbor, I need to say what “our neighbor” is. In an earthly sense, our neighbor is humankind both collectively and individually. Humankind collectively understood is the church, the country, and the community; humankind individually understood is the fellow citizen who in the Word is called our brother or sister or companion.

In a spiritual sense, though, our neighbor is whatever is good, and since useful service is good, useful service is our neighbor in a spiritual sense.

It is important for everyone to realize that spiritual speaking, useful service is our neighbor. Who actually loves someone simply as “someone”? No, we love people because of what is within them, what makes them the kind of people they are. That is, we love them for their nature, because that is what each human being is. The quality we love is their usefulness and is what we call “good”; so this is our neighbor.

Since the Word is spiritual at heart, this is the spiritual meaning of “loving our neighbor.”

from Life/Faith: Teaching for the New Jerusalem on Faith, Section 20

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