TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor

TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor is of significant importance to me because of the work I do. Moreover, it should be important because of what my Lord has said about the matter. In the New Testament, neighbor takes on a meaning beyond the person that lives in the house next to yours or on the same street. When asked “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus explained it in a parable in Luke 10:30-37. In summation, a neighbor is anyone whom you come into contact in your daily affairs.

Since that is the case, what is the TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor? The New Testament is filled with scriptures that answers that question. Primarily, we are repeatedly told to “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NASB) That is of the understanding that you want the best for yourself, so you should want the best for your neighbor. There are times in our lives that we do not know what is best for us. Barring those circumstances, the general consensus is that we should love your neighbor as yourself.

Not only in school, which is my line of work, but in life should we practice loving people as ourselves. Already this morning, the Manchester Bombing is dominating the news cycle. At the present moment, there are 22 people who have been killed 50 injured through the suicide bomber attack. There are hardly any of us who would not see this as an extreme non-example of How to Treat Your Neighbor. Those types of circumstances are obvious, but let us look at a less extreme example Jesus gave in Luke 10

30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” (NASB)

From the passage, we see that Jesus expands our idea of neighbor to anyone whom we come into contact. How we treat them is driven by the one who needs mercy shown to him or her. The Greek word for mercy in verse 37 is eleos (e’-le-os ) which means to display kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them; as it relates to God, in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ. In the passage, we see the Samaritan demonstrate mercy to the Jewish man. The implications there are that Jews did not like or value Samaritans because Samaritans came about as the result of foreigners intermarried with the Israelite population that remained in and around Samaria after the ten tribes were carried away into captivity to Assyria (2 Kings 17). Jews did not value them because of the intermarrying but more so because of their failure to worship Jehovah, the one true God. It is tantamount to a KKK or Neo Nazi helping and caring for a person of color when their own race walked by and did not help.

The point is that we are to show kindness or good will to anyone whom we are able to provide. That is the TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor. We should not be engaged in tearing down but building up. Romans 15:2 says, “Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” 1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.” Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” That is the TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor.

Who has God brought into your space that you did not show kindness or demonstrate good will? More importantly, be on the look out for the opportunity to show kindness and good will to those who will come into your space today, tomorrow, next week, next month and henceforth. Be ready to do good to those who need it. That is the TRUTH: How to Treat Your Neighbor.

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