Who is your neighbor?
That question is at the heart of Chapter 6. To love your neighbor as yourself, we first need to define who we are talking about. Is it the person living in the house next door? Is it someone in your neighborhood? How about your town? When Jesus was asked this very question, he replied to the man with another of his famous parables, The Story of the Good Samaritan.
You probably recall the story from a childhood Sunday school lesson. A Jewish man was traveling the road between Jerusalem and Jericho and was attacked by a band of robbers and left for dead along the side of the road. Jesus goes on to tell of two Jewish men, a priest and a temple assistant, who come upon the man, but refuse to offer him any assistance and also leave him helpless on the side of the road. Finally, a Samaritan man comes along and despite the social and cultural distrust this man would have had for the injured Jewish man, he tended to the man’s wounds and carried him to safety.
One would have expected a fellow Jew to have compassion and care for the injured man, to show him love. But they didn’t. They pretended to not notice the man or justified why they were too busy to help. But in this parable, it is the man you would least expect to act neighborly who showed love for his fellow man.
Jesus teaches us to love everyone, no matter what our differences, no matter what our fears. And if God can love every person on Earth unconditionally, then we should strive with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength to do the same. Loving our neighbors as God loves us is really an extension of showing our love to God.
I found what Tom Holladay shared in Chapter 6 to be really poignant and challenging to the person I think I am and to the person I should be. I hope you will continue to read along and share your perspective as God speaks to you through the study of this book.
Day 7 - Love Someone as Your Neighbor