Who is Your Neighbor?

         For anyone wondering, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus teaches the answer in the form of the Good Samaritan parable in Luke 10:25-39. In the parable a man is beaten by robbers and left for dead by the side of the road. As time passes, a priest and then a Levite walk down the road and notice the attacked person. Both men decide to leave the individual to his fate and keep on walking. However, a Samaritan passes by the attacked man next and decides to have compassion on him. The Samaritan bandages the man’s wounds, lodges him in a nearby inn, and pays for everything till he is healed. The good Samaritan puts his whole heart into showing righteous love to a struggling stranger.

The Good Samaritan parable shows the impartiality of God’s teachings and love (Gal. 3:28). The Jews during Jesus’ time felt superior to the Samaritans and detested them because of their religious beliefs. However, Jesus taught that everyone you meet can choose to be your loving neighbor, just as you have the choice to be one for them. Our neighbors are not defined by society’s standards or human limitations, but by God’s abounding love for all mankind. James 2:8-11 says, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.”

Another biblical example of putting human traditions before righteous love is in the book of Galatians. Part of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatian church addresses their sway toward false doctrines. While Paul was apart from the Galatians, some members of the church began to believe and say that a person must be circumcised to become a Christian. Believing this false doctrine led to division in the church and caused ridicule towards those who were not circumcised (Gal. 5:7-10). Paul reminded the Galatians that Jesus Christ died to unite all mankind under God’s love. Therefore, His children are to love Him and their neighbor above all else, including human traditions (Gal. 5:13-26).

            Jesus in John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” God uniquely creates everyone born into this world. Psalm 136:13-16 reads, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body.” Our purpose as God’s children are to glorify Him with our righteous good works. Will you choose to obey God and be a righteously loving neighbor, or will you spread the divisions of partiality?