by Suzy Ayres
Reflection 1 of 6
You likely are familiar with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus told the story of the Samaritan to show what it means to “love your neighbor”. The story was in response to the question “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus answered the question by telling a story of a man who was robbed, beaten, stripped of his clothes and left to die on the side of the road. Two religious men walked by – not only not stopping to help but crossing the road to avoid him altogether. The man who stopped to help was an outsider, a misfit, someone who may even have been despised by the person he was helping, even though they had never met. But this man, the Samaritan, saw a human who was hurt. A human made in the image of God, and instead of ignoring him, he loved him. He soothed his wounds, took care of him, and paid for his lodging until he was well.
I’ve often wondered what made the Samaritan stop to help. It would’ve made much more sense for the first two men to stop – they were religious leaders. It probably wasn’t convenient for the Samaritan to stop and take care of someone he didn’t know. He could have passed on by, or at the very least asked someone else to help. But he stopped, showed mercy to a stranger and loved him. Jesus gives this example of someone unexpectedbeing the good neighbor and then tells the leaders, and us, to go and do the same.
It’s easy for us to show God’s love to those who come to us for help. We give food to the food pantry and money to help those in need. As a church, we are able to share God’s love with so many people. It’s much more difficult to get outside of our comfort zones – to expand the definition of “neighbor” and to help someone we don’t know – to show God’s love personally to someone in need.
We don’t love our neighbor to earn God’s love. We love our neighbor as an expression of what God has already done for us. In John 13:34-35 it says “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
- We often think of neighbors as those who live around us. What is an expanded definition of neighbor for us as Resurrection Overland Park?
- It’s easy to show love for those who come to us for help. How do we reach out to those who may not be asking for help? How do we show God’s love in unexpected ways?
- Love is a verb – how can we love our neighbors?