Quotations about   neighbor

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Absence and a friendly neighbor washes away love.

Other Authors and Sources
English proverb
Added on 29-Aug-17 | Last updated 29-Aug-17
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God is pleased with no music from below so much as in the thanksgiving songs of relieved widows, of supported orphans, of rejoicing, and comforted, and thankful persons.

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) English cleric and author
Sermon 25, “The Duties of the Tongue,” Part 4 [Eph. 4:29]
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Added on 5-Jul-17 | Last updated 5-Jul-17
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The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we’ve failed to make of it a brotherhood.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Rediscovering Lost Values,” sermon, Second Baptist Church, Detroit (28 Feb 1954)
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Added on 24-Feb-17 | Last updated 24-Feb-17
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You cannot imagine the kindness I’ve received at the hands of perfect strangers.

maugham-hands-of-perfect-strangers-wist_info-quote

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
The Narrow Corner, ch. 15 (1932)
Added on 23-Sep-16 | Last updated 23-Sep-16
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Be charitable and indulgent to every one but yourself.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Maturin M. Ballou, Treasury of Thought (1884 ed.).
Added on 19-Aug-16 | Last updated 19-Aug-16
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If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“The Weight of Glory,” sermon, Oxford University Church of St Mary the Virgin (8 Jun 1941)
Added on 8-Jul-16 | Last updated 8-Jul-16
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A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own.

Shelley - greatly good - wist_info quote

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) English poet
A Defence of Poetry (1821) [ed. Albert S. Cook (1890)]
Added on 26-Jan-16 | Last updated 1-Jun-16
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A man’s first duty is to make a competence and be independent. But his whole duty does not end there. It his his duty to do something for his needy neighbors who are less favored than himself. It is his duty to contribute to the general good of the community in which he lives. He has been protected by its laws. Because he has been protected in his various enterprises he has been able to make money sufficient for his needs and those of his family. All beyond this belongs in justice to the protecting power that has fostered him and enabled him to win pecuniary success. To try and make the world in some way better than you have found is to have a noble motive in life.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) American industrialist and philanthropist
The Empire of Business, “Thrift as a Duty” (1902)
Added on 15-Jan-16 | Last updated 15-Jan-16
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I think that’s all anybody wants. To belong. To be people.

Heinlein - be people - wist_info quote

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Friday [Friday Jones] (1982)
Added on 8-Dec-15 | Last updated 8-Dec-15
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People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbors.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Middlemarch, Book 8, ch. 72 (1871-72)
Added on 4-Dec-15 | Last updated 4-Dec-15
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No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for any one else.

Dickens - lighten burden - wist_info

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
Our Mutual Friend, ch. 9 (1864-65)
Added on 12-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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We cannot safely confine government programs to our own domestic progress and our own military power. We could be the wealthiest and the most mighty nation and still lose the battle of the world if we do not help our world neighbors protect their freedom and advance their social and economic progress. It is not the goal of the American people that the United States should be the richest nation in the graveyard of history.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech to Congress on the Mutual Security Program (13 Mar 1959)
Added on 30-Jul-15 | Last updated 30-Jul-15
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Sin? Sin like love was a word hard to define. It came in two bitter but vastly different flavors. The first lay in violating the taboos of your tribe … The other meaning of sin was easier to define because it was not molded by the murky concepts of religion and taboo: Sin is behavior that ignores the welfare of others.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Time Enough For Love (1973)
Added on 7-Jul-15 | Last updated 7-Jul-15
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We believe we must be the family of America, recognizing that at the heart of the matter we are bound one to another, that the problems of a retired school teacher in Duluth are our problems; that the future of the child in Buffalo is our future; that the struggle of a disabled man in Boston to survive and live decently is our struggle; that the hunger of a woman in Little Rock is our hunger; that the failure anywhere to provide what reasonably we might, to avoid pain, is our failure.

Mario Cuomo (1932-2015) American politician
Keynote Address, Democratic National Convention (16 Jul 1984)
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Added on 6-Jul-15 | Last updated 6-Jul-15
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Even while we kill and punish we must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves — to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured: in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity (1952)
Added on 1-Jul-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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Them as can do has to do for them as can’t. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
The Wee Free Men (2003)
Added on 3-Jun-15 | Last updated 3-Jun-15
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Where after all do universal human rights begin? In small places, closes to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: The neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
Speech, United Nations (27 Mar 1958)
Added on 29-Apr-15 | Last updated 29-Apr-15
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But the truth is, that no man is much regarded by the rest of the world, except where the interest of others is involved in his fortune. The common employments or pleasures of life, love or opposition, loss or gain, keep almost every mind in perpetual agitation. If any man would consider how little he dwells upon the condition of others, he would learn how little the attention of others is attracted by himself.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler #159 (24 Sep 1751)
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Added on 10-Feb-15 | Last updated 10-Feb-15
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The way chosen by the United States was plainly marked by a few clear precepts, which govern its conduct in world affairs.

First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.

Second: No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.

Third: Any nation’s right to form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.

Fourth: Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.

And fifth: A nation’s hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
“The Chance for Peace,” speech to American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington (16 Apr 1953)

Also known as the "Cross of Iron" speech.
Added on 5-Feb-15 | Last updated 23-Jun-18
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I believe I have already said that our goal is not to proselytize but to listen to needs, desires and disappointments, despair, hope. We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace.

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
“How the Church Will Change,” interview with Eugenio Scalfari, La Repubblica (1 Oct 2013) [tr. K Wallace]
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Added on 29-Oct-14 | Last updated 29-Oct-14
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All skill ought to be exerted for universal good; every man has owed much to others, and ought to repay the kindness that he has received.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, ch. 6 (1759)
Added on 21-Feb-14 | Last updated 13-Oct-14
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Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Philippians 2:4 (KJV)
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Alternate translations:
  • "Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." (NASB)
  • "Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (NIV, NRSV)
Added on 18-Feb-14 | Last updated 18-Feb-14
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Men will not understand that when they fulfill their duties to men, they fulfill thereby God’s commandments; that they are consequently always in the service of God, as long as their actions are moral, and that it is absolutely impossible to serve God otherwise.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) German philosopher
(Attributed)
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Quoted in Karl Hillebrand, Lectures on German Thought, Lecture 5 "The Triumvirate of Goethe, Kant, and Schiller (1787-1800)" (1879)
Added on 23-Jan-14 | Last updated 23-Jan-14
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Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, ch. 15, epigraph (1894)
Added on 22-Mar-13 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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If we would all ov us take kare ov our own souls, and let our nabors alone, thare would be less time lost, and more souls saved.

[If we would all of us take care of our own souls, and let our neighbors alone, there would be less time lost and more souls saved.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Josh Billings: His Works, Complete (1873)
Added on 23-Jul-12 | Last updated 12-Dec-17
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Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958)
Added on 11-May-12 | Last updated 19-Jan-15
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Happiness is the only good.
The place to be happy is here.
The time to be happy is now.
The way to be happy is to make others so.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
Note to a fan (26 Mar 1897)
Added on 4-Jan-12 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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This family has no outsiders. Everyone is an insider. When Jesus said, “I, if I am lifted up, will draw …” Did he say, “I will draw some”? “I will draw some, and tough luck for the others”? He said, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all.” All! All! All! — Black, white, yellow; rich, poor; clever, not so clever; beautiful, not so beautiful. All! All! It is radical. All! Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Bush — all! All! All are to be held in this incredible embrace. Gay, lesbian, so-called “straight;” all! All! All are to be held in the incredible embrace of the love that won’t let us go.

Desmond Tutu (b. 1931) South African cleric, Archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Laureate
“And God Smiles,” Sermon, All Saints Church, Pasadena, California (6 Nov 2005)

The Bible passage referenced is John 12:32.
Added on 17-Oct-11 | Last updated 6-Jan-16
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Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise reason with thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Leviticus 19:17-18 (KJV)

See Matthew 22:36-40.
Added on 11-Jun-10 | Last updated 18-Dec-15
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“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

The two quoted verses are from Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18.

Added on 26-Mar-10 | Last updated 18-Dec-15
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When man appears before the Throne of Judgment, the first question he is asked is not: “Have you believed in God?” or “Have you prayed and observed the ritual?” He is asked: “Have you dealt honorably and faithfully in all your dealings with your fellow man?”

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
(Unreferenced)
Added on 17-Jun-09 | Last updated 24-Oct-14
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God has … ordered things that we may learn to bear one another’s burdens; for there is no man without his faults, none without his burden. None is sufficient in himself; none is wise in himself; therefore, we must support one another, comfort, help, teach, and advise one another.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 16 (c. 1418) [tr. L. Sherley-Price (1952)]
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Alt trans.: "But God has so ordained, that we may learn to bear with one another's burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough. Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise ...."
Added on 1-May-09 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Letter from Birmingham Jail (16 Apr 1963)
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Added on 27-Apr-09 | Last updated 31-Jul-15
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Reason, Observation and Experience — the Holy Trinity of Science — have taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for us. In this belief we are content to live and die. If by any possibility the existence of a power superior to, and independent of, nature shall be demonstrated, there will then be time enough to kneel. Until then, let us stand erect.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Gods” (1876)
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Added on 11-Apr-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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Democracy means, not “I am as good as you are,” but, “You are as good as I am.”

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) American theologian and clergyman
The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, foreward (1944)

This quote was difficult to track down. It's quoted everywhere -- but often attributed to Theodore Parker (as I previously did) or James Russell Lowell. I couldn't find, however, any specific citation from either gentleman.

Rev. John Murray Atwood, in his essay "Universalism and Educational Ideas" in 1770-1920 - From Good Luck to Gloucester, ed. Rev. Frederick A Bisbee (1920), writes:

But he who not only feels that he himself has unknown, divine possibilities, but so has his fellow, that democracy means, not I am as good as you are, but you are as good as I am, who seeks as the expression of his own true nature the larger liberty and life for others, is the kind of man essential to construct a new world.


The book is a history of Universalism, which may tie into Theodore Parker's Unitarian career. At any rate, the wording does seem to precede Niebuhr, but lacking a solid citation, I'll leave it with him.
Added on 19-Sep-07 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood; that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“I Have a Dream,” speech, Washington, DC (28 Aug 1963)
Added on 18-Jan-05 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.

Franklin - every new year - wist_info quote

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (1755)

More information on this quotation here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-Dec-15
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Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Letter from Birmingham Jail (16 Apr 1963)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Jan-15
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What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Go and study it.

[d’`alakh sani l’khaverkha la ta`avid. Zo hi kol hatora kulahh, v’idakh peirusha hu: zil g’mor]

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a (Rabbi Hillel)

(Noted elsewhere as tractate Shabbat 30a.) See also the Bible, Matthew 7:12.Alt. Trans.: "What is hateful to thee, do not unto thy fellow; this is the whole law. All the rest is a commentary to this law; go and learn it."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

A. A. Milne (1882-1956) English poet and playwright [Alan Alexander Milne]
Winnie-the-Pooh
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Jan-15
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The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and therefore, brothers.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“On Being a Good Neighbor,” sec. 1, sermon, A Gift of Love (1963)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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