Love Your Neighbor
Jesus once met someone who knew that God had commanded us to love...to love God and to love our neighbor. But he wanted to know...who is my neighbor?
Jesus told him a story that goes like this...
A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, "Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here."
Luke 10: 30-35
Then Jesus asked the man which of the people in the story acted like a neighbor. Of course, the man said it was the last one, the one who helped.
Now remember, the man wanted to know...who is my neighbor? He was thinking like the first two men in the story, who obviously thought that the man on the side of the road was not their neighbor...not their problem...not their responsibility. But Jesus switched up the question and answer. He did not tell a story where three different men were hurt on the side of the road and one man had to decide who he was supposed to help. No, he told a story were there was one neighbor in need and one man who actually treated him like a neighbor.
Jesus told this story to show emphasize that in order to love our neighbor we have to be a neighbor. And being a neighbor means acting in love. Yes, Jesus tells us that the Samaritan felt compassion for the man on the side of the road. But the Samaritan was a neighbor because he acted on his feelings and helped the man. He gave his time and his money to help someone else. That's what love means...to give.
Jesus tells us that everyone is our neighbor. Anywhere we go, we find neighbors. The question is, are you going to be a neighbor? Are you going to give when you see someone in need? Are you going to love your neighbor?
Read 1 John 3: 16-24
Why is it so important to SHOW our love for others with our actions?
Draw a picture of what it might look like for you to be a neighbor to someone. If you like, you can include a Bible verse.
Choose something you can do to be neighbor this week...and do it.