What does House say about loving your neighbour?

In the episode Saviours from the fifth season of the medical drama House, an environmental radical becomes ill and is treated by House's team. A day or two passes before the patient's wife arrives. Surprised she had not visited earlier the team struggle to hide their disgust, but her husband had not told her he was in hospital. In fact, he is so committed to future generations being able to breathe clean air, he spends no time with his wife or young son. His reasoning is he should not treat his own son any differently to the rest of humanity just because they are related. 

The environmental radical claims to love humanity but the problem is it is humanity as an abstract concept. It is much easier to love humanity from a distance than to love those closest to us. Families insist on leaving doors open when you have just got the room toasty warm and regurgitating the same tales of problems at work. Friends change plans at the last moment, whereas, humanity can do no wrong. The reason for this is because we never spend any time with 'humanity' but are forced to live in close proximity to family and friends. 

Jesus speaks of the command "love your neighbour as yourself." God gave this instruction to his people in Leviticus 19:18. This golden rule should play a significant part in how we think about who we love and how we love them. Our neighbours are those individuals that we engage with on a day-to-day basis not humanity as a faceless multitude. Only once we practise love toward those closest to us can our love to those in the wider humanity be authentic. 

It is much easier to raise money in a marathon for humanity as a people group than to love individuals who make up the human race. If I am a philanthropist, but am divorced from my wife and estranged from my children, then something has gone horribly wrong. I have learnt how to love if I know how to do the small things that matter to those who are closest.


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