Who is my neighbor?
Have you ever been put in a situation where you had to work with someone you did not like very much? Maybe your teacher sat you next to someone you did not get along with in class? Maybe your mom made you invite that one weird kid to your birthday party? I’m sure we can all think of a time where we had to be around someone we did not like. An issue in our culture today is that many of us have believed that it is okay not to love someone if we don’t like them or think they are different. Our world has given us this idea that we can just pass them by and choose to ignore them.
What’s wrong with that? Everyone does it so it should be okay, right? That may be acceptable for the world’s standards of living; but as a Christian, Jesus has called us to a higher standard. In Luke 10:27 Jesus told the disciples that the first and greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”, and the second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus then gives a parable about a man traveling from Jerusalem who was attacked by robbers and left injured on the side of the road. A priest and a Levite were both traveling on that road; they saw the injured man and they passed him by. Finally, a Samaritan traveled on the same road and stopped to take care of the man. The interesting thing about this story is that Jews and Samaritans were despised enemies of each other. However, despite those differences, the Samaritan stopped to help this man in need. Jesus said the Samaritan was a good neighbor because he showed mercy on the man despite the fact that their cultures were enemies. The Samaritan helped the one who was looked over, passed by, and ignored by others.
This is exactly who your neighbor is! Your neighbor is, not only the people you like and get along with, but also the one who you may dislike, the one you may think is weird, and the one who is an outcast. Over the next few days, we are going to discuss more about who your neighbor is and how God is calling you to be a good neighbor, just like the Samaritan was to the injured man.
Action Item: Think about a time where you may have overlooked someone who was in need. Now think about why you may have passed him/her by. Was she too “weird”? Was he too different? Write down your reasoning and ask God how He would want you to act. Pray and ask the Lord who you can to reach out to, and if you need to, apologize for not being a good neighbor to them.