Who is my neighbor?

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)


And who is my neighbor?

The one who I am most likely to neglect, negate, nullify,

Objectify into something, not a person, not even fully human

Not like me, not connected with me, to whom I have no responsibility.


The stranger, the hungry, thirsty, sick, naked, imprisoned, vulnerable reminders

Of my own weakness, contingency, propensity to death.

The one’s I want dead because their lives make my life difficult.


Those outside the norm, outside my comfort zone, the bothersome ones,

I wish they would go away


Be concrete, the alien, the widow, the orphan,

The immigrant and refugee, women, and children,

The death row inmate

The old

The unborn

The poor


Black and brown and red and yellow peoples—hey, anyone who’s not white,

Everyone I’d like to segregate, not see, not be free.

The one’s I won’t list here because I don’t see.


Go beyond the humans I deny to

The creation I threaten

By taking too much, consuming too much,

In my drive to dominate, exploit, control

Destroying land, water, air, species.


Who is my neighbor?

Those not in my neighborhood.

Those I don’t want in my neighborhood.

Those I would never consider to be my neighbor.

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