Posted by: Jo | April 7, 2017

Who Is My Neighbour?

“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

(Luke 10: 29)

Neighbour03My husband and I live in an apartment building and have done for several years, so consequently, we know all the other occupants. This last week a long-time resident sold her apartment and suddenly we realised we were going to have new neighbours moving in. The chatter around the hallways, was definitely centered around this new change, about to happen, and went like this; I wonder who bought the apartment/ will they be young and noisy/ I hope they don’t bring small children with them/ do they have a pet/ will they fit into our quiet, well managed lifestyle we already have here. We have all been left wondering;

Who is our neighbour going to be?

Jesus tells a powerful parable about this very question in the story of the Good Samaritan when “an expert in the Jewish law” wants to test Jesus about what he thinks about God’s law;

“On one occasion and expert in the law stood up to test Jesus, “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10: 25)

Jesus replies with another question, asking the expert what he thinks the law is saying. The expert who obviously prides himself on how knowledgeable he is, quickly quotes straight from Scripture;

“…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and Love your neighbour as Neighbour01yourself.”  (the expert is quoting from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6: 5 Leviticus 19: 18) 

I often get a jolt when I read this story as I too could quote this well known saying, but would I be able to do what Jesus asks the expert to do?

“…. Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10: 28) 

Surely Jesus would not expect me to love these new neighbours if they are wild teenagers who will throw late night parties. Surely, he means we are to love those who fit into our idea of “nice” people. Surely there must be some limits to which neighbours we love.

Jesus repeats his powerful message repeatedly when he is teaching his disciples, but there is a subtle change in the way he delivers the message;

“A new commandment I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34 – 35)

Neighbour02When we are followers of the Lord we have a far greater responsibility, we are now his ambassadors, ready to promote his beautiful message of love. He has showed us perfect love in the way he has loved us, now we need to imitate him in the same way and love our neighbours whoever they are.

Before I meet these new neighbours, who are moving into our building, I pray that the Lord will remind me of the wonderful way he has loved me, despite all my obvious faults and the hidden ones he also knows, so he can help me…

Love my neighbour!

 

 

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Responses

  1. I’m sure your new neighbours will be welcomed by you, whether or not they are noisy, have children or pets.

    Liked by 1 person


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