Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Who Is My Neighbor?

You would think when someone so special is talking, people would listen. You would think that when he is trying to tell us what God expects from us to enter into his kingdom in the after life, people would be listening, and indeed, they listened, many listened. There were others who did not. There were also those closest to him who misunderstood! That always baffles me, that those closest could misunderstand.

Today’s lesson is one of my very favorites in the world. You can substitute any two races who hate one another and the story is equally clear. The man who was asking the question was setting Jesus up, or trying to, and Jesus used the occasion to teach a stunning truth – that love is stronger than hate.

Luke 10:25-37

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.* ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

26He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’

27He 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 neighbour as yourself.’

28And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’

30Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii,* gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’

37He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’

I have seen this in my own life. I have seen hopeless situations, with no solution in sight, totally change because one person chooses to love, instead of to hate. Choosing to love, in the face of hatred, takes a lot more character, a lot more strength. It has the potential for changing everything.

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May 28, 2009 - Posted by | Character, Charity, Community, Cross Cultural, Experiment, Living Conditions, Spiritual

2 Comments »

  1. Interesting thought. Though as a race we seem to take more pleasure from the suffering of others, than actually standing aside and helping. People confuse me and life well is the one place I no longer wish to be!

    Comment by Duma Key | May 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. Duma Key – Most of my friends seem to be more the helping kind, who truly feel awful when bad things happen, even to a less-than-likable person. It is really really hard for me to think of people who take pleasure from the suffering of others; it makes me almost physically ill when there is suffering about which I can do nothing. I am so sorry, I know your life has taken a terrible turn, and you can’t see a single good possibility coming your way. The only thought that comes to mind is that I have seen great good come out of what seem to be impossibly horrible situations. It CAN happen. Hang in there.

    Comment by intlxpatr | May 29, 2009 | Reply


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