Crossing the Road — A LifeWords Devotion - Hope 103.2

Crossing the Road — A LifeWords Devotion

If we are to be a neighbour, and embody the love of God, we need to pay attention to the needs of those with whom we have profound disagreements.

By David ReayTuesday 18 Feb 2020LifeWords DevotionalsDevotionsReading Time: 2 minutes

Luke 10:30-37

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” (NLT)

It seems that whenever people asked Jesus an apparently simple question, he never gave a straight and simple answer. Instead, he got to the heart of what was behind the question. In this case, a man wanted to know what it meant to love his neighbour by wanting to know just who his neighbour was. Perhaps as a way of limiting his love for others.

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Jesus instead turns the question around and instead of trying to define who is and is not in need of help, focusses on the helper. Instead of worrying about who is our neighbour, we are to be concerned with being a neighbour.

And the familiar story reminds us that a neighbour is someone who crosses the road, who acts to help someone in need. In this case, the sting in the tail is that a marginalised outsider is the one who is a true neighbour rather than the respectable religious types.

A Muslim firefighter who rescues a child from a burning house is being a neighbour. A gay prostitute who calls an ambulance for a mugging victim is being a neighbour. A fierce atheist who provides a meal for a homeless person is being a neighbour.

The point being that if we are to be a neighbour, if we are to embody the love of God, we may need to cross barriers and pay attention to the needs of those with whom we have profound disagreements. Christian love is not to be confined to our Christian bubbles.

Blessings
David