Jesus is questioned by the lawyer as to who is one’s neighbor. In the gospel of Luke, Jesus tells a parable about a dying beaten man who is taken in by a good samaritan and cared for as family. Jesus reminds us that everyone is our neighbor. As Christians we are called to love all our neighbors, even those who despise us or drive us crazy.
Upon investigation, we should discover the real story behind our neighbor’s actions and why they cause so much pain in their behavior. What caused them to behave in such manner to cause agony to those around them? The congregation was asked to consider the most despicable person in their life and one who had caused them the most pain. That person still falls under the category as your neighbor and God calls on us to reach out to this person with mercy and forgiveness.
Extending a hand in forgiveness and mercy to one you have disliked is a tough lesson. The person is unlovable may be considered our neighbor. It is easier to care for neighbors who care for us and offer help when we are in need. Some neighbors test our limits when they behave in selfish mannerisms.
The key lesson remains with the question of whether we will love such “neighbors”. Does our actions toward them signify mercy or revenge? Being a Christian is not easy. God puts levels of conduct on us and makes us ponder what we are willing to do. The burden of our behavior falls on us. All God’s children are our neighbors, no matter how they behave.
God gives us the strength and shows us how to work with love, patience and grace to react in such circumstances. We can’t choose all our neighbors and we can’t control what our neighbors do and say, but we can choose what type of neighbor we will be. Through prayer we implore God to enable us to see the needs of our neighbors and respond to them as we would to Him. He will help guide us to do what we know is right.
Good Shepherd Lutheran remains the sanctuary where all can worship. Whether you attend the Contemporary Service at 8:30 a.m., the Adult Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. or the Traditional Service at 10:45 a.m. Pastor Wally and the congregation encourage your attendance.