Leviticus 19:33-34 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
33 “Do not do bad things to foreigners living in your country. 34 You must treat them the same as you treat your own citizens. Love them as you love yourselves. Remember, you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God!”
The Book of Leviticus is not just a book of rules and unbending regulations. It sheds miraculous light and illumination on the tender and kind heart of God. It shows us some properties of the kingdom of LOVE. In these two verses, we can see the humanity and the face of the Savior. In here also is another lesson to be learned on how to LOVE your neighbor.
It is as if this Scripture is being taught from a hillside to a group of people by the Lord Jesus. Here is someone who teaches kingdom principles with compassion, with patience, and with understanding. But most of all, from a sense of authority from the essence of LOVE.
To paraphrase Verse 33: Do not be mean to people outside the Kingdom of God. Just because you have recently become citizens of heaven, does not mean you are above those who are still heathen and gentiles, your NEIGHBORS. Verse 34. Be kind and be gracious to these NEIGHBORS as you would act to your brethren who have believed and stepped into the Kingdom of God.
“Live together in peace with each other. Don’t be proud, but be willing to be friends with people who are not important to others. Don’t think of yourself as smarter than everyone else” (Romans 12:16 ERV)
Verse 34 continued. Love your NEIGHBOR as yourself. For this is the second greatest commandment of Jesus. Do not forget that YOU were once a stranger to God, His people, and His kingdom. YOU were once wandering around in the desert without a clue who God was!. And by the way, YOU did not care one whit either about anything associated with My Kingdom.
“All these great people continued living with faith until they died. They did not get the things God promised his people. But they were happy just to see those promises coming far in the future. They accepted the fact that they were like visitors and strangers here on earth. When people accept something like that, they show they are waiting for a country that will be their own” (Hebrews 11:13-14 ERV).
Paraphrase verse 34 continued. I AM the ONE, the Faithful and True LORD who says these things. This is not a suggestion. This is a commandment. These principles and teachings are as firm and as set as concrete in my kingdom. Those who do not abide in them cannot dwell forever with me.
So we can see that LOVE to THE NEIGHBOR takes many forms and many shapes. But the over-riding principle is the essence of thinking and considering of OTHERS before we place our own SELF-interests as supreme.