As I stood at my kitchen sink, with bubbles up to my elbows, bemoaning the fact that my dishwasher was broken, God spoke to me in the quietness of my heart. The word ‘neighbours’ popped into my head and straight away my mind went to the Parable of the Good Samaritan as told by Jesus in Luke 10: 25-37. I finished the dishes and felt compelled to read it again even though I was familiar with the passage of scripture.In the story, a lawyer wanted to know from Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. He knew that according to the law he had to be completely devoted to God and to have love for his neighbour. However, what the lawyer really wanted to discuss with Jesus was: “And who is my neighbour?” I think he was looking for a ‘loophole’. It is one thing to love God but ….some people? Surely God doesn’t expect us to love THEM?! Jesus tells the lawyer the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is the story about a man who is travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. He is attacked and beaten by thieves. They left him wounded and half dead by the side of the road. Many people simply passed him by, but one man, a certain Samaritan stopped and treated him like a human being. He not only bandaged his wounds but took him to an inn and paid for him to be cared for. Clearly Jesus points out who acted in a ‘neighbourly’ manner.
I took a closer look at some of the people who met the wounded man on the road that day:
To the lawyer, the wounded man was a subject to discuss.
To the thieves, the wounded man was someone to use and abuse.
To the religious man, the wounded man was a problem to be avoided.
To the innkeeper, the wounded man was a customer to serve for a fee.
To the Samaritan, the wounded man was a human being worthy of his love and care.
To Jesus, all of them and all of us were worth dying for.
How many wounded people do you know? You would be shocked if you only knew! There are wounded people in your family, working alongside you, serving you at the grocery store and sitting next to you in church. You may even be wounded yourself. Whoever you are, I believe that YOU are my neighbour and you are worthy of my love and care. God has ‘birthed’ this idea of a ‘Dear Neighbour…’ letter in my heart and my goal is to glorify God and to encourage and bless you. May my letters do for your soul what the bandages, oil and wine did for the wounded man.