Who is my neighbor?
There is an intrinsic understanding in everyone to care for the people around us. It’s natural to help the people we’re close to, but it’s not normal to help someone we don’t know. It’s even more unusual to help someone we don’t like.
So there is a question we all ask ourselves regularly, “Who is my neighbor?” Then we secretly think, “I hope it’s not him!”
This is why the story of the Good Samaritan is so universally understood. Jesus told it to drive home a point we already know. We don’t want to love the mean and nasty person, but we should anyway. Even our enemy is our neighbor.
This means everyone is my neighbor.
But if we’re honest, everyone is a lot. It’s Steve Urkel to the guy who cuts his brother with a Jesus vanity plate to the terrorist across the world. How do I love them, really? How do I love everyone?
Let me help you. Your neighbor is everyone but not just anyone.
Wonder what this means? Here are three helpful ways to further define who is YOUR neighbor.
1. Your neighbor is anyone you’re CALLED to.
Calling is a tricky thing because we make it complicated. Let me simplify it for you. Where you are is where you’re called.
Where you live. Where you work. Where you go to school. Where you workout. Where your kids play sports. Where you shop. Where you eat. Where you drink coffee.
You are called there. These people are your neighbors. Love them and care for them.
You may not love your job, but you are there. Accept it for now as your calling.
You may not love your house, but you are there. Accept it for now as your calling.
Kia and I moved to Shawnee, Kansas 2 year ago. From the surface level, you would think I re-located because of my job. It was more…it was a call.
I just don’t work in Shawnee. Kia has a business in Shawnee. Our kids go to school in Shawnee. We shop in Shawnee. My kids do activities in Shawnee.
We are called to this place.
2. Your neighbor is anyone you have AFFINITY for.
There are certain places and types of people you naturally like. Given all the money, any time and no other restraints where would you live? What type of people would you hang out with?
On my own, I am drawn to urban places. I like the African and Hispanic cultures. I easily make friends with people in these places and those cultures.
Even here in Midwest suburbia, I find myself visiting these places and these people.
3. Your neighbor is anyone in NEED.
The Samaritan man was the only person who passed by the man and stopped to help. The man was in need. It was the Samaritan’s neighbor.
They were enemies, but the man was in need. The Samaritan recognized this truth, as a person in need, the man was his neighbor.
Everyone not just anyone.
Yes, your neighbor is everyone – especially your enemy. Jesus is clear on that. Love them.
When it comes to everyday life, it’s not always that easy, so keep these three things in mind:
I shared more on this in March. If you have an extra 30 minutes, take a look.