Love and Be Loved
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NLT)
Here Jesus gives us implicit instructions. We are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In fact, He says that loving our neighbor is just as important as loving Him. But who is our neighbor? In Luke 10:29, a religious man asks Jesus this very question. And, in true Jesus fashion, He responds with a parable - the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). The story is this: A Jewish man was traveling to Jericho. On his way, he was robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side on the road. Several people passed the wounded man lying on the road; one was a priest; the other, a Levite. Both of these “religious” men purposely ignored the hurting Jew. Then, a Samaritan man- one who was despised by Jews and considered to be sub-human, came along. Unlike the other two, this Samaritan stopped and took action. No doubt- this was not part of the Samaritan’s plan. It was by no means convenient for him. It wasn’t even customary; nonetheless, the Samaritan exhibited God-like compassion toward this stranger. He began to help the robbed, beaten and left for dead Jewish man - and paid a great deal of time, money, and energy to do so.
If you’ve been in the church for any amount of time, you have been taught that Christians are to love our neighbor as ourselves. You also must know that our neighbor is not just the person next door but everyone around us! Our neighbor is the cashier at the grocery store, the person working out next to us at the gym, and the co-worker with whom we have nothing in common. We are called to love all these people, not just our friends. We are to have compassion on the people around us- those who are broken, hurting, and in need, and not solely when it’s convenient.