“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 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.” (Leviticus 19:17-18)
How should we to treat other people? These verses contain a list of several social laws centered on the theme of verse 18, to love your neighbor as yourself. We remember that Jesus quoted that verse when he defined neighbor as one’s fellow human being. Thus these verses call us to deal honestly and truthfully with our fellow human beings. We are not to cheat or lie to others. We are to be charitable, hospitable and gracious to all people and not just to our fellow countrymen or fellow believers. This passage mentions that we should treat even the aliens, the foreigners in our midst, as our neighbors. We cannot deny them justice or mistreat them in any way. In the case of Israel, we must remember that such aliens were to be tolerated and respected as long as they did not practice idolatry or create trouble.
We should also note the admonition concerning equal treatment in the civil law courts. Justice should be impartial and show no favoritism to people based on socio-economic status or any other criteria. God Himself shows no partiality when it comes to His righteous judgments. All human beings sin and all are condemned. No one may claim poverty, class, or race as an excuse nor may anyone maintain that riches, fame and power can buy their way out. And yet in His mercy God again shows no favoritism. He extends mercy across cultural and social lines to save those who are spiritually impoverished. We Christians ought not play favorites either but show all our neighbors the love, compassion and acceptance of Jesus Christ.