Loving my neighbor is not optional. It is an expectation, a command. I don’t get to pick and choose based on my own preferences and opinions, even though some may be easier to love than others.
Many headlines in today’s news and on various social media platforms seem to blatantly ignore this truth. Reading them makes me feel sad, disappointed, even angry. Responding in frustration provides no solution. Remaining silent also is not the answer. So how do I put actions to this truth?
Loving the people who cross my path daily is the first step, but it cannot stop there. What about people who are not right in front of me, not in my immediate sphere of influence. Do I have a responsibility toward them? Yes! They are also my neighbors.
I must search my heart, making certain my words and actions do not place one group over another. Each person has value, no matter which group they belong to.
I’m reminded of the Good Samaritan story. A man was beaten and robbed, no different from current headlines. People in church and leadership roles had the opportunity to help, but were either too busy or chose to avoid the situation. A man who the aforementioned leaders would not even speak to was the only one who chose to do the right thing.
“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.”
Luke 10:33-34 NIV
““Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.””
Luke 10:36-37 NIVI
I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of neighbor I want to be. Not only that, that’s the kind of neighbor I need in my life. One who will accept me for me, flaws and weaknesses included. One who will take time to bandage me up, care for me, and help me back on my feet if necessary.
One who will always choose to love their neighbor.