Complete this sentence. “Like a good neighbor, ___________ is there.” Did you sing it? One more. Ready?
“Love _________ __________ as yourself.”
Who is my neighbor? The expert in the law was looking for a loophole when he asked (Luke 10:25-29). As an expert, he was familiar with the command in Leviticus 19:18.
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.”
He knew he couldn’t take revenge or bear a grudge against any fellow Jew. He wanted to make the circle smaller still, asking, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan to make his point in a big way. The Samaritans and the Jews despised each other. Whenever they walked by each other’s towns, they would shake the dust off their feet in disgust. In fact, the Jews would take the long way around to avoid Samaria altogether.
That’s how my wife feels about pickles. I can put one on her plate and she’ll almost fall out the chair trying to get away from it. She’s never eaten one, but loathes them. If a pickle was a person lying in the ditch, bleeding, I’m not so sure she’d help the pickle-person.
How Far Do We Carry This Whole Loving Your Neighbor Thing?
In the parable, the neighbor was the one who showed mercy. A hated Samaritan helped a hated Jew. The same Jew that a priest and Levite walked by. Loving your neighbor means to even show mercy to your enemies when they’re hurt.
Conan the Barbarian would not approve.
Who’s The Modern Day Equivalent of a Samaritan?
I wondered, culturally, who do we hate like that? It could be any group, all different, which leads to this realization, as individualistic as Western Culture is, it would be personal.
Who do you despise and will not have anything to do with, as a person or a group?
Aware of Godwin’s Law, I went right to Hitler. Typical. Have your answer? It can’t be Hitler, he’s already dead.
Now it get’s hard. That person is your neighbor, and they’re in need, what do you do?