The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:25-37
“…and who is my neighbor?” – Expert
“…which of these three was a neighbor?” – Jesus
There’s a lengthy story between these two quotes, so it’s easy to miss the fact that Jesus doesn’t answer the expert’s question. In true rabbinical fashion, he responds to the question with another question… but his question doesn’t even exactly answer the question that has been asked.
The expert wants to know who qualifies as his neighbor, probably because he wants to limit the scope of the people he has to love. If he can determine who is and who isn’t a neighbor, then he can know who it is that he can get away with not loving.
But Jesus isn’t interested in who qualifies as someone’s neighbor. Jesus is interested in whether or not the expert is being a good neighbor. For Jesus, the question isn’t about who is or isn’t your neighbor… the question is about what sort of neighbor you are.
In relationships, our tendency is to blame the other person. Marriage partners are tempted to look at all the wrong things the other person does… coworkers find it easy to find fault and place blame… next-door neighbors are often irritated by the things that the other family does.
But Jesus reminds us that we’re not responsible for other people’s behavior… we’re responsible for our own. And it’s up to us to do the right thing, even if the other person is irritating, frustrating, unclean, or inconvenient. It’s up to us to be good neighbors to all that we see… whether they are a good neighbor or not!
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.
We are pilgrims on a journey; We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
– Richard Gillard