Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

"Love Your Neighbor as Yourself"  Luke 10:27b

Upon reading the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37, we encounter a teacher of the law who was seeking eternal life.  Jesus replied and asked him, What is written in the law and how did he read it? and he answered,

'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 love your neighbor as yourself."  

Jesus then affirmed him by saying he was correct and to do this and he will live.  However, the teacher wanted to justify himself and he asked who is my neighbor?  Jesus then replied by sharing the story of the Good Samaritan.  He tells of "a man who goes down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away leaving him for dead."  So as the man is laying there in need in shame, embarrassment, physically and emotionally hurt and about to die, a priest walks by and keeps walking.  He doesn't stop to help.  Then a Levite now approaches and in ordered not to be bothered by him, he actually crossed the road to avoid having to help him.  The man who was robbed was forsaken by his own people.  But when the Samaritan saw the man, he had pity on him and went to help him.  He bandaged him up using his resources of oil and wine and put him on his donkey.  He then took him to an inn and paid for his stay.  He also offered to pay for the additional things this man would need. 

Jesus then asks the Teacher, which of these three men was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robber?  And expert of the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."

Every day, we have the opportunity to love our neighbor.  Look around us.  We have people who are in hurting. They are beaten down emotionally and physically.  They are stripped down. They are in shame from their condition and embarrassed by their circumstances.  Which one are we when we see someone in  need?  Are we willing to go and do likewise?  Or are they too much hassle for our day.  Do we choose to cross the street to avoid them?  This is a question we need to ask ourselves.  

Living in the United States, especially Southern California the lifestyle here is so busy.  People need to work hard to maintain their lifestyles.  Many are in competition with one another and many really don't care to listen to others and their problems.  They don't want to be weighted down by their issues.  It is too much and they may have to sacrifice something in their life.  However, there are those we read about or encounter who we call our neighbor who loves us.  They are the ones who stopped and helped out.  They saw someone in need and provided aid. One pulled a person out of a burning car.  The other stopped to help an elderly person with their groceries.  Someone acknowledged the grocery store clerk as a person and displayed kindness. Another stopped by to give someone food who did not have any while another prayed for the person in need.  May we be the one who will show mercy and be found loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

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