Who is my neighbor?

Global Migrant Flows When Cain murdered his brother Abel, according to Genesis 4, he is said to have quibbed, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Then when Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, there was also a follow up question: “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29) This is what George A. Buttrick writes in the Interpreters Bible: “No unworthiness, no racial or national heritage, no barriers of class or culture, can make a person other than a neighbor”. Our world is shrinking faster and faster and the question of neighborliness is becoming more and more pertinent. More and more people are crossing geographical, national, cultural and ethnic boundaries. Inevitably there are – from a legal perspective – for example, “illegal” immigrants in most countries of the world, some affected more than others. In the United States, for example, there are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. The majority of them may have entered the country illegally, while for many, their immigration status may have changed, (for example, expired visas) since entering the country. Many may have been brought into the country as children and now they are “illegal” aliens. The law and documents don’t consider these human beings as neighbors. Jesus’ questioners may have had the same thoughts in their minds. “Are the Gentiles or non-Jews, neighbors?” Often, nationalism is a barrier to neighborliness. It is well known that, in most countries affected by migrants, their plight ends up being political rather than humanitarian issues. Some would use it for political gain or leverage. Kant wrote: “True neighborliness means treating every person, not as a means, but as an end”

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