In addition to a position with God, the Christian has a commandment to love one’s neighbor as a creation and likeness of God. Christian love of neighbor requires from us an inner union with them – a union that expels from the relationship any pride and selfishness, personal gain and interests to self-denial. Love of neighbor embraces all people without exception, as Christ makes clear in the parable of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10: 28-36). Christian love is realized with complete devotion for the good of others: “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Love of neighbor is based on love of God and is most closely connected with it: he who does not love his neighbor does not love God. “He that saith, I love God, and hate my brother, is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen” (1 John 4: 20-21).
True love for one’s neighbor must be active, it must be expressed in living deeds of love and mercy, and not only in compassionate words – “Let us begin to love one another not in words or in tongues, but in works of truth” (John 3 : 17-18).
Everything we will do here on earth, for our loved ones, we will do for Christ Himself: “Come, you blessed of My Father – He will say to the terrible judgment of the righteous – inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world, because I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was naked, and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me … because you did this to one of these younger brothers of mine, you did it to Me ”(Matt. 25: 34-40).
Compassion is a Christian virtue that, along with repentance, humility, love of God and neighbor, contributes to the salvation of the soul. It is in the service (as an instrument) of another virtue – love of neighbor. This mediating role of compassion – to be an inner (sympathetic) and / or external expression – an active manifestation of love for one’s neighbor relativizes his value. In so far as it involves mental commitment and physical commitment – providing assistance but in distress or mental distress – depending on the strength of the means and the circumstances, often despite the goal (the intention to help) – it can reflect not only in useful, but sometimes in useless or harmful results for the benefit of the same neighbor whom we try to help. The outcome of our activities often depends not on the motives, but on the nature of the means, the circumstances and the conditions of the environment in which we carry them out. Depending on whether they are good or bad, it can happen that even the most well-intentioned activity (with poorly chosen means, hostile environment, intervention of unexpected or unforeseen forces, underestimation or change of circumstances) ends with a malicious or zero result. ; and vice versa – maliciously conceived activity to result in good, but good or indifferent consequences. The result often refutes the goal. When compassion reduces the suffering of the neighbor, who consoles and calms himself, seeing that he is not alone, but another suffers alongside him, he shares his pain and sorrow, takes part of his burden. The sufferer rejoices, feeling helped and relieved by his compassionate. Sensitive-useful compassion is misericordia (mercy, compassion), and active-useful compassion is caritas (love of neighbor and God).