But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
~ Luke 10:29
Around two thousand years ago a Lawyer after reciting the two most important commandments to Jesus: to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and all your mind and your neighbor as yourself; asked Jesus a very important question, “And who is my neighbor?“
To answer him, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
Who is my neighbor?
This is a question, I feel we need to ask ourselves again. Some neighbors are easy to love, respect, and care for; they look like us, think like us and have similar views and histories. While others prove to be more difficult, you see in my experience, “my neighbor” doesn’t always look like me, think like me, doesn’t have similar views or histories. But yet they are my neighbor, men and women created in the image of God that I am command to love, I am commanded to respect, and I am commanded to serve.
As Jesus brings the parable to an end, we see this conversation:
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He (lawyer) said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” ~ Luke 10:36-37
The one who showed mercy was the neighbor, to which Jesus adds, “You go, and do likewise.“
How do we love our neighbor, when it doesn’t come naturally, because they don’t look like us, think like us or have similar views and histories?
We See Them:
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion ~ Luke 10:33
We are intentionally looking for those around us whom we are called to love, as ourselves. With eyes to see, we see them; without turning a blind eye to them, we notice them.
We Go to Them:
He went to him … ~ Luke 10:34(a)
We meet them where they are. We are called to love them as they are, so we do not go to them arrogantly telling them to clean up their mess then we can talk to them. We do not tell them to change their point of view or move beyond their past so we can love them. We go to them where they are, it is there that we meet with them. In love we listen to and in love we engage them.
We Meet Their Needs:
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back. ~ Luke 10:34-35
In love we meet their needs, showing them mercy. The one who needs to weep, we weep with and listen to. The one who needs to rejoice, we rejoice with. To the one who is searching we point them to Christ, planting and watering seeds asking the Lord to bring about salvation in their life. To the struggling believer we point them to Christ, reminding them of who He is and who they are in Him.
As believers seeking to live a life of obedience and faithfulness to the Lord and His Word we are commanded to love Him with all that we are, and to love our neighbors. Many of our neighbors do not look like us, think like us, or have similar views or histories; therefore we must be intentional in loving our neighbors. Loving those who may not be exactly like us is so counterculture that it is in our love to our neighbors that the world gets a glimpse of God, His love, His compassion and His mercy.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven ~ Matthew 5:16
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.
~ CS Lewis