Let’s Get Technical… Who does “neighbor” refer to in “love your neighbor”?

Bryant Golden Blog

So this question is not the easiest to answer. Why, you ask? Well, we have two very different groups of people who are reading this (And be kind to me. I realize each group has several subcategories, but for the sake of not writing a novel, humor me):

  • Jesus Followers.
  • Not Jesus Followers (again, be kind – I’m trying to be simplistic here. You’re welcome).

So, I’ll write really briefly to both and I’ll start with Jesus Followers. If you aren’t in this category, you can jump down a few lines. Or just read this and see how hypocritical you already know we are (sigh).
Jesus Followers: You know the parable of the Good Samaritan, right? If you don’t, go and read Luke 10:25-37 in the Bible (or just look it up on BibleGateway.com). Jesus told this story after someone asked Jesus who his neighbor was. Most people think that Jesus is saying we are the Good Samaritan and we are to love the person who cannot help him/herself. Wouldn’t that be cute. But Jesus was actually saying that we are the beaten up, stinky, hungry, homeless person on the side of the rode and HE is the Good Samaritan. Holy smokes, gross. Also, did I blow your mind?
So what was Jesus’s point, then? When we start to draw distinctions as to who we can love and when and why, we forget that Jesus NEVER drew those distinctions with us. Ever. Romans 5:8 explains that when we were in the midst of our absolute dysfunction and wanted nothing to do with Jesus, He died for us. So HOW DARE WE only love those who are:

  • Good to us?
  • Socially acceptable?
  • Low maintenance?
  • No drama?
  • Easy to be around?
  • Clean?
  • Happy?
  • Not controversial?

Not Jesus Followers: Well, I guess the best thing I can tell you is that you should just aim to live by the “Golden Rule” (I know, I know. “The Golden Rule” is actually from the Bible. What? You didn’t know that?): Do to others what you would have them do to you.
Really simply, in any and every situation just ask: What does love demand? And your answer to that question will tell you who to love and how to love. Mic drop.
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