Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

The good samaritan story is known to most people - helping someone else - but the depth of it is why I am writing today.  

As the parable goes, there was a Jewish man who was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead on the side of the road.  The first person who came past the beaten man was a priest.  He saw the man lying there and then crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.  The next person to pass the hurt man was a temple assistant.  He walked over and looked at him lying there, and also passed by on the other side of the road.

These were two men - supposedly men of faith - who saw this man who was hurting and they chose to pass him by. 

The third man to come along was a Samaritan.  The Samaritans were people who were despised at that time by those who believed in God yet when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. The Samaritan went over to the hurt man and helped him with his wounds, bandaging them up. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn.  He took care of him and the next day also gave the innkeeper money telling him to care for this man.  He also stated if the inn keeper needed more money than what he gave, he would pay the difference the next time he was at the inn.  

After Jesus finished telling this parable he asked the man he was telling it to “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by robbers?”

The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Our actions matter.  

Are we extending mercy to those who are hurting right now?  Are we extending grace and forgiveness to those who have different opinions than us? 

The two greatest commandments are to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself.

We can say we love God but if we do not love our neighbor as ourself, we are just like the priest and temple assistant who walked by the hurt Jewish man.

No one was made greater than anyone else - that is an idea people have created - that there is a tier in the human population.  The truth is we are all the same in God's eyes and how we treat one another matters. 

I hope you will join me in taking a moment to...

Pause. Breathe. Pray.

When we see someone hurting, let us not be the priest or temple assistant who walk on by.  Let us be like the Samaritan, and come beside those who hurt - extending compassion and being the hearts and hands that are willing to help with the healing.  And if we are the one hurting, may we receive the love from the heart that is extending love our way.

With love, hope and peace,

Shawn

"Treat others the way you want to be treated." - Luke 6:31

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