In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” The good neighbor was the one who showed mercy to the injured man. The bad neighbors were the ones who ignored the man and failed to help him. The good neighbor helps, the bad neighbor ignores.
So I ask myself, what kind of neighbor am I? What kind of neighbor are you? We hope that we can answer, “Yes, we are a good neighbors.” We think that if we see our neighbors in trouble we will try to help them, and I think that most of us would.
But when we think of our neighbor, we think about the guy next door, or the lady across the street, or the family down the block. Those are the neighbors we would help right away. The man the Samaritan helped was a complete stranger. He just happened to walk by and see him lying in the ditch, naked and injured. Here is where we have to dig a little deeper, search our soul and ask ourselves, “Would I help him?” I don’t mean call 911. Would we really dig in and physically try to help him?
Tough question, especially this day and age. By Jesus’ standards, that man is our neighbor, too. Any one who is in need is our neighbor.
In verse 36, Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" Of course it was the one who stopped and helped. It was a case of neighbor helping neighbor. The man in the ditch and the Good Samaritan were neighbors, even though they had never met, lived in different areas, etc. The point is made: we are all neighbors.
Which takes us back to the original question, “What kind of neighbor are you?” It is easy to see what kind of neighbor Jesus expects us to be.
The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." A good neighbor is one who shows mercy to anyone in need. How are we doing?
My Dad drove an oil transport truck for many years. One rainy day three young girls passed his truck. Shortly after they passed him, the girl driving the car lost control, turned over several times and ended up in a ditch. One of the girls had a severe laceration to one of her arms. Dad stopped, pulled the girl from the car and held pressure on her brachial artery until the ambulance came. For nearly and hour he knelt in the pouring rain in the mud holding pressure. He saved the girls life and was awarded the Hobbs Knight of the Road Award that year for his compassion and bravery. He was a good neighbor – a Good Samaritan. Would we have done the same?
DR. SAM SMITH, DC