Tag Archives: love your neighbor

Improving Samaritans

like JesusBy comparison to the “Ideal Samaritan” we’re all quite “Inadequate Samaritans” don’t you think? Since we’re not very much like him, “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10) status seems a little too lofty to my ears, so I’d like to recommend that we at least aspire to the rank of “Improving Samaritans.”

Don’t forget, we’re playing a real-life game of “Follow the Leader.” Jesus wants us to follow him – copy him, if you will. That doesn’t mean we’re on a trajectory to become Junior Saviors, but we e shooting to be clearer signage that points people to him. As Improving Samaritans we want to love the Father and one another as he did. Continue reading

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Some more excuses of not-so-good Samaritans

 

like JesusI offer a few more suggested excuses for being less than ideal Samaritans

  • “I don’t have time to help so-called ‘underserved’ people. I’m too busy just trying to raise my family and pay the mortgage.”

It says that the Samaritan came across the dying man “as he traveled.” He must have been on his way somewhere. The Jericho Road, colloquially called “The Bloody Pass” wasn’t anyone’s destination. You didn’t go there for a picnic and to see the sights. He found the victim while on his way to someplace else.

That’s where we may, if we care to notice, run into a lot of our divine appointments, on our way somewhere else. In order to meet the man’s need the Samaritan had to be willing to stop and be late to his next appointment. Maybe his lateness would cost him a contract or the ire of a customer or friend, but the bleeding man lying in front of him had a greater need than his need to be on time to wherever he was otherwise supposed to be. Continue reading

Inadequate Samaritans

like JesusIn two earlier posts I introduced the concept and context of the parable of the Good Samaritan. I talked about to be like Jesus is to be like the kind of “Ideal Samaritan” he was. Let me take this a little further and identify, like the law expert with whom he shared his parable, we make excuses for our lack of Christlikeness…

 

Christianity is like playing “Follow the Leader.” Jesus told us to “follow” him, which is a truckload more than just believing in him. It’s been a while since I’ve played the actual game, but I remember that if you want to stay in the game you have to do what the leader does. And you have to do it just the way s/he does it. Saying, “Well, I’m not going to do that, but I really do believe in you!” won’t get you to the next round. Believers-only sit down and watch followers stay in and play. Continue reading

On being neighborly (Who do I have to love and how much?) Part 7

love your neighborIn 1911 a Senator Dillingham reported to congress that “certain kinds of criminality are inherent in the Italian race” and that “the high rate of illiteracy among the new immigrants was due to inherent racial tendencies.”

Once the railroad was finished, so was our country finished with the Chinese they’d conscripted and enslaved to finish it. For instance, Californian legislators began passing ordinances designated to drive out the Chinese. They passed bills making it illegal for Chinese to get a business license, to fish, or marry a white person. In Santa Cruz (where I lived for 20 years) there was an ordinance that stated, “No person shall carry baskets or bags attached to poles carried upon backs or shoulders on public sidewalks.” In 1876 a congressional report in order to halt Chinese immigration to the US stated: “There is not sufficient brain capacity in the Chinese race to furnish motive power for self-government,” and, “There is no Aryan or European race which is not far superior to the Chinese.”

Neighborly: Characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, kind, obliging, helpful, hospitable, civil, generous…

I obviously miscalculated how many words it would take me to unburden my soul on this topic. Even though I have not nearly said all that’s on my mind about neighborliness, I really must bring this provocative essay to a close – to no one’s disappointment, I’m sure. My principle hope is that I’ve offered what I consider to be a biblical perspective, yet one that some might not have considered before. I trust that we’ll be able to parse out the humanitarian from the partisan and just let the Spirit speak to us through his Word.

I wanted to scream bad words when I read about a certain church (not a hypothetical one), which, in order to look its best during its televised services, selected well-dressed and good looking individuals to sit in the front where the cameras would pan them instead of their less desirable-appearing worshipping counterparts! Continue reading

On being neighborly (Who do I have to love and how much?) Part 6 of 5ish

love your neighbor“I won’t mix in politics. War is the fruit of politics, and so I don’t involve myself, that’s all. If I get stuck in politics, I will stop loving. Because I will have to stand by one, not by all.” Mother Teresa

Neighborly: Characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, kind, obliging, helpful, hospitable, civil, generous…

Okay, so I miscalculated! Six doesn’t fit neatly into five, but that’s the beauty of the “ish.” I had a sneaking suspicion that I’d get a little longwinded, so I covered myself with the all-purpose “ish.” No promises, but my new best guess is 7ish.

We’ve been doing a passage perusal of the oft repeated command to “Love our neighbors as ourselves” from Moses to Jesus to Paul and now to James. If you’ve been following along with each post, you’ll undoubtedly have noticed that the “neighbors” referred to in these passages are people who come from everyplace on the planet and will include, not only those who look and act the same as us, but those who are quite dissimilar from us.

I’ve made no secret that we Christians have a responsibility to rethink, in light of Scripture, our view of the discarded dregs of our own society as well as people who come here from other places fleeing from bone crushing poverty and/or brutally oppressive regimes. Though our neighbors live near and far, this is the aspect of neighborliness I felt compelled to highlight. I admit my grief about many of my fellow Jesus followers who seem to hold too narrow a definition of “neighbor” and carry little to no sense of duty for hospitality to our international neighbors. Continue reading

On being neighborly (Who do I have to love and how much?) Part 5 of 5ish

love your neighbor“For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved.” Richard Stearns

Neighborly: Characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, kind, obliging, helpful, hospitable, civil, generous…

In earlier posts we’ve been talking about God’s expectation that his people be, of all the people in his world, especially hospitable, otherwise known as “neighborly.” Now we’re examining the passages in which the biblical command to “love our neighbor” is found. We’ve looked at some of the teachings of Jesus and now transition to what the apostles – beginning with Paul – said about this neighborliness. Continue reading

On being neighborly (Who do I have to love and how much?) Part 4 of 5ish

love your neighbor“Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful. They can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?” Eli Wiesel

Neighborly: Characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, kind, obliging, helpful, hospitable, civil, generous…

In his speech yesterday, President Obama said: “Are we a nation that kicks out a striving, hopeful immigrant like Astrid (a young woman to whom from Mexico to whom he refers in his speech) – or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in? . . . Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.”

Believe it or not, I began writing this multi-part essay on neighborliness a couple of months before I even knew the President was going to make a speech about immigration reform and sign an executive action delaying deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants. I’ve held the views that I’ve posited in these last several posts for a decade or two, but have just now finally put a few of my convictions into words. Continue reading