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Duty to neighbours

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Scripture defines the identity of neighbours in various ways, and indicates the nature and extent of believers’ obligations to them.

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Neighbours defined

Those who live nearby

Proverbs 3:29 ESV
Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.
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Those of the same race

Leviticus 19:18 ESV
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
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Peoples of surrounding nations

Deuteronomy 1:7 ESV
Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.
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Those who show mercy to people in need

Luke 10:29–37 ESV
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Fellow Christians

Ephesians 4:25 ESV
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
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Duties to neighbours

Love

Matthew 22:34–39 ESV
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
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Assistance

Exodus 23:4–5 ESV
“If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.
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Fair treatment

Exodus 22:14 ESV
“If a man borrows anything of his neighbor, and it is injured or dies, the owner not being with it, he shall make full restitution.
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Honest dealings

Leviticus 19:13 ESV
“You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning.
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Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
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Reproof

Leviticus 19:17 ESV
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.
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Prohibition of negative actions towards neighbours

False witness

Exodus 20:16 ESV
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
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Oppression

Jeremiah 22:13 ESV
“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing and does not give him his wages,
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Judgment

James 4:12 ESV
There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
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