Duration: 365 days
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LOVE MY NEIGHBOR? (MATTHEW 22:37-40)
Henri Nouwen once said that true community is the place where the individual we least like always lives next door. This is certainly a Biblical principle. Jesus taught that our neighbor might be the person least like us — consider the parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:25 – 37). We are called to be like the Samaritan rather than the religious leaders who passed by their Jewish countryman who had been beaten, robbed and left for dead along the road. They didn’t lift a hand to help him.
In contrast, the despised Samaritan did not walk past the Jewish man but cared for him — paying out of his own pocket for the man’s needs, not expecting repayment. This Samaritan loved radically, sacrificially and at great risk to himself. He acted decisively; he didn’t question what his fellow Samaritans would think or what might happen if the robbers were still nearby.
Loving our neighbor involves caring for those in need who cross our path. This applies certainly to friends, but especially to those least like us and to those we like the least.
Those who experience eternal life with Jesus must love like Jesus loves. So, just as Jesus loves his neighbor — like the Samaritan loved the Jewish man who was attacked by robbers — we too must love our neighbor, even though they might not like us or be able to pay us back. Jesus loves unconditionally and we should too.
Taken from NIV Starting Place Study Bible©2017 HarperCollins Christian Publishing