Dear HTC Family and friends,
In my blog today, I want to reflect on the lawyer’s question to Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”, as well as the answer Jesus gave him, in the form of the parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10:29-35. You
will find these reflections very telling in a world and society, which classifies types of people as ‘enemies’ and either ‘worthy of love and respect’ or ‘not worthy of love and respect’.
The lawyer’s question followed on the answer that Jesus gave to a previous question of his, relating to inheriting eternal life. Jesus had said to him in reply, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:25-27). It seems the lawyer’s question about defining who his neighbour was, was based on his assumption that there must be some to whom the obligation to love does not apply. In so doing he was seeking to set a limit on his duty to love. The lawyer’s question also emphasizes the worthiness of the object of love rather than the attitude of the one who is doing the loving!
In contrast to the lawyer’s quibbling over a definition, Jesus used the parable of the Good Samaritan to teach that love is not a matter of theoretical discussion but of practical demonstration. The priest and the Levite in the parable represented the religionists who can argue and debate with great articulation about love and who is worthy of love. The Good Samaritan in the parable, who was despised as a man of mongrel race and of polluted religion, is commended by Jesus, because he did not theorize but acted. In commending the Good Samaritan, Jesus was saying that loving has nothing to do with whether the object of the love is ‘worthy’ (or not) of being loved, but everything to do with the heart and attitude of the one doing the loving – the willingness to love indiscriminately and unconditionally, as our God in Christ demonstrated in His love towards us. (Romans 5:6-8 and 1 John 4:10.)
It was not beneath Jesus, the Son of God, to love us wretched sinners. Likewise, followers of Jesus cannot view anyone as beneath us to love. We have a mandate, as embodied in the parable of the Good Samaritan, to love the unlove-able, to love our ‘enemies’, to love those different to us, to love those whom society has deemed unworthy of love (Matthew 5:43-45). Nothing can separate us from Jesus’ love (Romans 8:38-39), and therefore nothing that people do or don’t do, should ever separate them or cut them off from our love.
In the end, Jesus answers the question, about, ‘who is my neighbour?’ in a parable that shows that everyone is my neighbour, and the measure of our love will always remain, ‘what we have done for the least of these.’ (Matthew 25:40-45) – least worthy, least qualified, whom I feel least comfortable with.
This is a season where more than ever the world needs the love of Good Samaritans, who bear and demonstrate the love of Jesus. It’s time to really love our neighbours, as Jesus has loved us.
Bless you all,