Who Is Your Neighbor?
The Pharisees, in an attempt to test Jesus, asked Him which commandment was the greatest. Jesus answered:
26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Those two commandments contain the original ten that God gave to Moses. If we love God, then we will love to follow his instructions. I do love God, so I try to follow his commandments. It’s hard and I fail sometimes, but I pray for strength, repent and move forward. I do it willingly.
The second commandment is more of a struggle for me. You see so much evil in the world and it’s hard to love people when you see them doing evil. Do you need to love everyone? Who is your neighbor?
The Pharisee asked the same question.
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
I must admit, I was curious as well when I read that. Who is my neighbor? Do I need to love everyone as I love myself?
The Good Samaritan
Jesus answered the Pharisee with a parable about the good Samaritan who saved a dying man on the road. A priest and a Levite saw the man but crossed the road. The Samaritan bandaged him up and got him a place to stay while he recuperated. The Samaritan was the neighbor to the man on the road.
From that, it would seem that we are the ones who should be good neighbors those we meet who are in need. At the time of the question, Jews considered only Jews as their neighbors. Jesus, by using this parable, showed them that anyone can be your neighbor.
How Can We Be Good Neighbors?
This world is getting more and more dangerous. You are right to be cautious. However, does every instance of seeing someone who is not like you mean that you should cross the road like the priest and the Levite?
I did that (and still do at times when I sense it’s not safe). But, with what I do now and where I work now, crossing the road doesn’t work for me. I work for a homeless ministry, so what kind of sense does it make for me to cross the street when I see a homeless person?
Everyone you run across can be your neighbor. Offering help doesn’t mean putting change in a cup. Unfortunately, that can lead to someone getting a drink they don’t need. It can be as simple as a greeting. Everyone has an innate desire to be recognized as a person. You can offer a cup of coffee and a listening ear to someone. If you see someone on the side of the road changing a tire, offer help (if you’re able). Things as simple as these can be a blessing to someone else. You become their neighbor and, I feel, that they become yours.
In that same sense, who is your neighbor? Has someone tried to reach out to you with help? That person is your neighbor. Receive the help graciously if you need it. Do not let pride get in the way.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Our neighbors are the people we see in need. It doesn’t matter if they are believers or non-believers. We are all created by God in His image. We should all take care of each other.
As I work on this blog, I’m noticing that I type as I speak. I tend to ramble as other thoughts come into my head on a topic. I pray, though, that I made this message today clear to you. Your neighbor is anyone who needs you. However, to be a good neighbor, you must also be able to receive help.
I pray that God blesses anyone who reads this with a clear understanding. I pray for wisdom for all of us.
In Jesus’ name, have a blessed day.