Better Neighbors

Better Neighbors
Author: Adam Etris, Programming Director
The Parables of Jesus - Part 7
Have you seen that show, “What Would You Do?” It’s a hidden camera, social experiment type of show. The host observes and comments on how ordinary people behave when they are confronted with dilemmas that require them to take action or to walk by and mind their own business. I remember watching an episode where the waitress was berated by her boss in front of customers who had no idea they were on this show. I watched, thinking, “I would definitely say something and stop this horrible boss from acting this way toward a wonderful waitress who did her job well.”

It’s easy to sit on my couch and make such a claim, but if that were me, would I be able to do that? Honestly, I’m kind of scared to find out. I’m scared that I wouldn’t intervene. That I would just sit in my booth and mind my own business because why? Because I don’t want them yelling at me? Because I don’t want to deal with the drama? Because it’s their problem, not mine?

He has called all of us to serve others because He served us.

This past Sunday, we continued our summer series, “The Parables of Jesus.” Pastor Tim shared my favorite parable of the Good Samaritan.
Jesus took up the question and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
– Luke 10:30-34
I always think poorly of the priest and Levite whenever I read this parable. How horrible are they for not stopping and helping this person? However, I have never stopped to think about why they decided not to. Pastor Tim gave some suggestions as to why they didn’t. Maybe they thought it wasn’t their problem. It could have cost them too much. They didn’t know what to do. Maybe they just didn’t care. Whatever the reason, the reality is they looked at their neighbor without compassion.

The Samaritan did the opposite. He saw this other person’s problem as his own and was willing to pay the cost. He knew what to do, and he cared. He showed compassion to his neighbor because he wanted to be a good neighbor.

R.H. Stein says, “Jesus indicated that one should worry less about who a neighbor is than about being a good neighbor.”

I’m afraid that most times, I identify as the priest and Levite. I can come up with reasons not to help my neighbor. I can view them in a way that isn’t filled with compassion. I can be selfish in my thinking and my actions. That’s not what God asks of us. He has called all of us to serve others because He served us.

Every day is an opportunity for us to live like the Samaritan. I encourage you to show care and compassion to the people you interact with. It could be as simple as opening a door for someone or giving an old friend a call and praying with them.

Let’s be mindful of others and consider how we can be better neighbors.

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