Luke 10:25-37 (NRSV)
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" 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." And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live." But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus 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. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 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. 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.' Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
Jesus said to [the lawyer], "Go and do likewise."
-- Luke 10:37 (NRSV)
IN the dormitory where I live with 70 other prisoners, opportunities to be a good neighbor are all around me.
Harry bunks next to me. He is a very bitter and angry man. He blames everyone else for his problems. How can I love Harry the way Jesus loves me? I don't even like him. I don't like many of the things he does or the things he says.
In the Bible story of the good Samaritan, three people passed the injured man, but only the hated Samaritan stopped to help. He saw the injured man as a human being and responded out of a heart of love. Jesus told the lawyer, "Go and do likewise."
He tells me the same thing. But how can I be a good neighbor to Harry? Well, I don't have to like Harry but I am called to love him. I don't have to like his attitude, but I can be patient and forgiving. I don't have to like his profanity or his prejudices, but I can put aside my biases and help when I'm able.
The attitude Jesus expects us to have is one of love in action. Talk is cheap. Anyone can say "I love you." Our words are empty if our actions do not back them up.
Prayer: As you have loved us, O God, help us love our neighbors and fulfill the command of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
God's love for us gives us the courage to "go and do likewise."
Neighbors I don't like
By Roy A. Borgesm, Florida