Love Your Neighbor
by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on March 31st, 2015

Go and Do Likewise

​Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:37-40
 

When the Pharasees asked Jesus about which was the greatest commandment, they weren’t asking because they didn’t know, they were asking to try to trip Jesus up.  The issue became less about what they asked and more about their motive and their heart.
 
Today, when we read this exchange between Jesus and the spiritual leaders of his day, the question we typically ask is “who is my neighbor?”  Which all too often really means, “who do I have to love?”  And for us also, the issue becomes less about what we ask and more about our motive and our heart.
 

Because in trying to identify “who is” our neighbor,
aren’t we also labeling “who isn’t” our neighbor? 
Aren’t we compiling two lists –
those I have to love and those I don’t?


Now, I really want y’all to understand that this is NOT being written from atop my soapbox; oh no.  This is coming from a low place of conviction, my fingers are typing but my toes are bruised.  

This is God talking to me and saying, “Oh, you have a ministry? That’s nice, so who are you ministering to exactly?”

You see, what God has convicted of me is this:
It’s easier to love the idea of loving people, than to actually love other people.
 
It’s easy to love the neighbors who are like me.
It’s easy to love the neighbors where I want to go.
It’s easy to love the neighbors inside my comfort zone.
It’s easy to love the neighbors who agree with me.
 
But loving others isn’t about them, where they are or who they are - it’s about me, it’s about who I am – a child of God – and where I am – in my relationship with Christ.  
​So the real question is NOT “who is my neighbor” but: What must I DO to BE a neighbor?

​In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus is asked again about the greatest commandment and this time he gives us the parable of the good Samaritan and answers our question – what must I do to be a neighbor?
 
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 

 

​Some avoid the needs when they encounter others

31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

Heartcheck:
  • Am I so consumed by my own needs that I become oblivious to the needs of others?
  • Am I losing sight of those I am ministering to as I am trying to maintain my ministry?
     

​Some assess the needs but never meet the need

​32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

Heartcheck:
  • Am I becoming an expert about reading people without ever reaching people?
  • Am I praying for ‘someone’ to come meet the need and not actually meeting the need myself?
     

​Some address the need when it is seen

33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

Heartcheck:
  • Am I willing to get dirty in meeting the need? [bandaged his wounds]
  • Am I willing to be inconvenienced to meet the need? [gave him a ride]
  • Am I willing to sacrifice the cost to meet the need?  [paid the bill]
  • Am I willing to spend my time to meet the need? [hindered his plans]
     
It’s easy to live as if Christianity is just coming to church to fill me up and not worry about anybody else. 

*      *      *

It’s easy to say I love others, and just walk right past the hurting assuming someone else will meet the need. 

*      *      *

It’s easy to NOT be a neighbor, because loving our neighbors as ourselves, demands sacrifice.

​So Jesus asked then and is asking us now:
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
 
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
 
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

 
 

Go and do likewise . . . GO and BE a neighbor
 


​I would love to hear from you.  How has someone been a neighbor to you? How has God led you to be a neighbor to someone?   Join the conversation below in the comments.
 
Blessings Soul Friends  
This post is part of the series Blogging Through The Bible with the Good Morning Girls [Matthew]. To follow along please visit GoodMorningGirls.org.

I'm also linked up with Holly Barrett for Testimony Tuesday.


 
​Jana Kennedy-Spicer is a blogger, graphic artist, Bible teacher and speaker passionate about inspiring and encouraging women on their daily walk with Christ.
Read Jana's testimony.


Posted in Blogging Through The Bible    Tagged with love, neighbor, Matthew, Luke, good, Samaritan, needs


13 Comments

Angela Martin - March 31st, 2015 at 12:26 PM
Ouch, ouch, ouch! I taught on this in a series this spring with "typing fingers" (or "tripping tongue") and "bruised toes." I think I'll just get up and read this and say, "Did y'all get this?"
There are so many good quotes here. I love your heartcheck on the Samaritan. And on "reading people without reaching people." I have to say, there are some really beautiful, inspirational blogs out there. This one is convicting. I can teach, I can write, I can lead. But what am I DOING? How am I showing love? I'm saving this.
Thanks!
Jana - March 31st, 2015 at 3:00 PM
Thank you for that support Angela. God is so faithful to feed me from His word if I will just go to Him. It's not always what I want to hear, but I know I need it. Blessings friend!
Jodie - April 1st, 2015 at 11:59 AM
I love the heart check questions Jana! They are perfect for self-reflection!
Jana - April 2nd, 2015 at 2:27 PM
oh yes, for me too!
Jodie - April 2nd, 2015 at 8:08 AM
Jana, I so enjoyed printing this and going through it more slowly at home last night. As I studied I saw that a key word in the story of the Good Samaritan was speaking to my heart. COMPASSION. God wants us to SEE and have compassion. That compassion prompts our actions. It prompts us to go and do likewise! Thank you for sharing and helping me deepen my bible study time!
Jana - April 2nd, 2015 at 2:31 PM
Oh yes - compassion. So important. Thank you for sharing this with your Bible study group today!
Jodie - April 3rd, 2015 at 7:55 AM
You welcome! I think they enjoyed it and I pray it spoke to their hearts the way it did to mine!
irene - April 2nd, 2015 at 8:10 AM
Thank you for this, I'm hoping I can learn how to be a helpful and loving neighbor, I also love the heart check questions
Jodie - April 2nd, 2015 at 11:52 AM
The heart check questions were my favorite too Irene!
Jana - April 2nd, 2015 at 2:28 PM
so glad it spoke to you Irene... it's so important for us to learn to be neighbors. God will bless this endeavor when we seek to please him. Blessings
Maria - April 2nd, 2015 at 8:29 AM
I too love the "heart check". It makes me pause and quiet myself before the Lord. I recognize the times I have "helped " someone with my religious agenda verses the times when my heart is overcome with compassion.
Jana - April 2nd, 2015 at 2:30 PM
thank you for that Maria.... "helped someone with my religious agenda". another #heartcheck for me ! Blessings
Abby - April 2nd, 2015 at 9:19 AM
Thanks for sharing, I really needed this today!!!
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