What responsibilities do we have toward other people?

Mission Lab

As Christians, we must show our love for all people. We do this when we: (1) are concerned about our neighbor’s rights—his freedom, housing, food, health, and right to work, (2) show to others the justice and charity of Christ—that is, reaching out in the spirit of the Beatitudes to help others, to build up a better society in the local community, and to promote social justice and peace throughout the world, (3) speak and judge others by the standard of charity that is due all sons of God, (4) respect and obey all lawful authority—in the home, in civil society, and in the Church.

The second great commandment of God, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (cf. Luke 10:27), is like the first: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart” (Luke 10:27), because it springs from the same principle and motive–to love. The norm for the love of God is the totality of the very depths and powers of the soul: “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).

The norm for the love of neighbor is the proper love of self—to love our neighbor as ourselves. But our Lord raised that norm to the sphere of the divine when He commanded us to love our neighbor as He loves us. The Redeemer’s love for us is without limit.

The commandment to love our neighbor is founded in the Old Testament and carried over into the new dispensation, or the New Testament, where it is renewed. However, in the New Testament, it takes on a new, special relationship to Christ, the God-man, for He declared that this commandment of fraternal love is His favorite commandment. It is His own commandment: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you” (John 13:34). This love is the sign by which His disciples will be clearly recognized.

In our lives, we are challenged to bear witness to Christ by serving the needs of man. We can serve our fellow man by personally taking care of his spiritual, physical, and social needs, and by helping others personally through the ministries of medicine, nursing, teaching, and social work. We can also be of service to man and society in the fields of business, education, law, government, and public health. Since not every Christian can be a servant professionally, each should be a servant according to the gifts and talents he has received from God.