“Who is my neighbor,” an expert in Jewish law asked Jesus. Leviticus 19:18, which reads, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” prompted the question.
Truth in a story
Jesus didn’t answer the question directly. Instead, he told a story about a Samaritan who cared for the needs of another person. Jesus then posed a question of his own, asking, “Who do you think was a neighbor to this man in need.”
He then challenged the lawyer to show mercy to others; to love his neighbor as himself.
Does this mean everyone?
Surely God doesn’t intend for us to love all people. Surely He doesn’t expect us to love those we find offensive. Surely there are qualifiers to consider, right?
Should I love my neighbor that speaks a different language? Am I supposed to love a neighbor recently released from prison? Jesus can’t expect me to love that neighbor who lives in immorality, does he?
We are mistaken if, like the lawyer in Luke 10, we think we can narrow the field to those who believe like, vote, and live like we do.
Demonstrated Kindness and Acceptance
We live in a polarized society. I can’t remember a time when our culture was more deeply divided. The vitriol and conflict saddens us all.
We can’t change the attitudes of others, but we have complete power over our own. We can choose to love the neighbor who others push away. We can proactively demonstrate our love through kindness and acceptance.
To borrow from Joshua, “Choose this day whom you will love, but as for me and my house, we will love our neighbors as we love ourselves.”