Who is my neighbor?

I was reading the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) this morning. It starts out with an expert in the law, standing up to test Jesus by asking “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

As I read more of the story and another question of “who is my neighbor?”, I tried to image what circumstances could compel a person to simply pass by someone in obvious distress and keep on going without stopping to help. Is it lack of compassion, fear, busyness, selfishness or perhaps a combination of all of these?

We read that we are to “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  Lk 10:27 If we don’t reach out to help those in distress is because we don’t love God, ourselves or our neighbor?

The recent story of a two year old Chinese girl who was ran over by two separate Vans and ignored by at least 18 people passing by is probably what sparked my thoughts this morning. I watched an edited video clip of the incident and all of the people who walked, bicycled, or drove by were close enough to reach out and touch the toddler. I simply cannot comprehend this lack of concern or compassion!!

The man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho (v. 30) was ignored by a priest and Levite, both who would have traveled the road frequently and would have been obligated to show mercy to the man who was robbed and beaten. Jews and Samaritans culturally had no love for each other, yet it is the Samaritan who stopped to help, he is the one who showed what it is to love your neighbor as yourself. And the two silver coins he gave to the innkeeper were equivalent to two days wages. The injured man was put on the Samaritan’s donkey, while the Samaritan walked.

Being a neighbor is showing the love of God to all who are in need. Love is the most excellent way and it never fails.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8