LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR

 

Luke 10:25-28… 25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’[a] and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”[b] 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”What do we mean by “Love Your Neighbor? In this previous passage of scripture this lawyer that spoke to Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. He correctly understood that the law demanded total devotion to God and love for one’s neighbor. But the lawyer questioned Jesus further in Luke 10:29-37… 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35 On the next day, when he departed,[a] he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was a neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” In this passage of scripture the lawyer treated the wounded man as a topic for discussion, the thieves as an object to exploit, the priest as a problem to avoid, and the Levite, as an object of curiosity. Only the Samaritan treated him as a person to love. From this parable, we learn three principles about loving our neighbor. (1) lack of love is often easy to justify, even though it is never right, (2) our neighbor is anyone on any race, creed, or social background who in need, and (3) love means acting to meet the person’s need. Wherever you live, there are needy people close by. There is no good reason for refusing to help.

There was deep hatred between Jews and Samaritans. The Jews saw themselves as pure descendants of Abraham, while the Samaritans were a mixed race produced when Jews from the northern kingdom intermarried with other peoples after Israel’s exile. To this lawyer, the person least likely to act correctly would be the Samaritan. In fact, he could not bear to say “Samaritan” in answer to Jesus question. The lawyer’s attitude betrayed his lack of the very thing that he had earlier said the law commanded, love. Whether you see someone in need as a subject to discuss, or use or exploit, a problem to avoid, a customer to serve, or someone to care for . To Jesus , all of them and all of us were worth dying for.

Even Paul the Apostle talked about love your neighbor in Romans 13:8-10… Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,”[a] “You shall not covet,”[b] and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[c10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the lawin this passage of scripture who is love for others considered something we owe? We are permanently in debt to Christ for the lavish love he has poured out on us. The only way we can even begin to repay this debt is by loving others in turn. Because Christ’s love will always be infinitely greater than ours, we will always have the obligation to love our neighbors. Somehow many of us have gotten the idea that self-love is wrong. But it this was the case, it would be pointless to love our neighbors as ourselves. But Paul explains what he means by self-love. Even if you have low self-esteem, you probably don’t willingly let yourself go hungry. You clothe yourself reasonably well. You make sure there’s a roof over your head if you can. You try not to let yourself be cheated or injured. Ans you get angry if someone tries to ruin your marriage. This is the kind of love we need to have for our neighbors. Do we see that others are fed, clothed, housed as well as they can be? Are we concerned about issues of social justice? Loving others as ourselves means actively working to see their needs are met. Interestingly, people who focus on others rathers than themselves rarely suffer from low-esteem. Christians must obey the law of love, which supersedes both religious and civil laws. How easy is it to excuse our indifference to others merely because we have no legal obligation to help them, and even to justify harming them if our actions are technically legal? But Jesus does not leave loopholes in the love of law. Whenever love demands it, we are to go beyond human legal requirements and imitate the God of Love.

t is further stated in James 2:8-9… If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. The royal law is the law of our King Jesus Christ, who said ‘Love one another as I have loved you’. This law originally summarized in Leviticus 19:18… You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. is the basis for all the laws of how people should relate to one another, Christ reinforced this truth in Matthew 22:37-40… 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” and Paul taught it in Romans 13:8 and Galatians 5:14. We must treat all people as we would want to be treated. We should not ignore the rich because then we would be withholding our love. But we must not favor them for what they can do for us while ignoring the poor who can offer us seemingly so little in return.  I have submitted a gospel video related to this article.  Enjoy this video. Always remember “Keep the Faith and God Loves You and So Do I”

What Do You Think?  Your comments are welcome!!!!

Written by Kofi Baruti