LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR
Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him,
He passed by on the other side.
Luke 10:31 (NKJV)
Like the lawyer who asked Jesus to define “neighbor”, we would like to find an escape clause. Some people are just not lovable, but in Scripture, love is not an emotion. Love is the choice to care for our neighbors as we do for ourselves.
The parable is familiar. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews. They were part Jew and part Assyrian/Babylonian. The Jews would go out of their way to avoid walking on Samaritan soil. If their sandals touched the Samaritan dust, they needed purification.
A Jew traveled from Jerusalem to Jericho on the steep “Red Road”, as it was called due to the dangers that awaited travelers. Thieves hid in the curves of the road, and this man was attacked and left for dead. Two Jews passed by, but they stayed on the other side of the road. They were religious men, a priest and a Levite, but they did not help.
Finally, the Samaritan came by, and he had compassion on his enemy, the dying Jew. He bandaged his wounds and brought him to an inn where he paid for his stay.
Would I have crossed to the other side? Would I have compassion on my enemy? Do I allow prejudices to interfere with acts of love? Those are the questions we must answer. When we see someone in need, do we just pass by because we are busy, and there is no time for interruptions? These are the excuses we make.
This parable is not only about loving a neighbor; it is about loving an enemy. When the Jew recovered and learned that a Samaritan helped him, he was probably quite amazed at the man’s love. The world will also be amazed when we show them the love of Jesus Christ.
I cannot do this. It is not in me, but You can help me to love others. Break down the barriers that prejudice puts up. Help me to choose compassion every time. Amen.
Read Luke 10:25-37. What was the command that Jesus gave us all (v.37)?
HIKING THE TRAIL
Who do you have trouble loving, whether it is a person or a particular group of people? What is the cause for this? Commit to pray daily for God to enable you to show compassion to them.
Copyright 2015 Carolyn Dale Newell.