Define “Neighbor”

Reading the parable of the Good Samaritan today I noticed something interesting. The Savior did not answer the same question that the lawyer first posed to Him. The lawyer sought to justify himself by asking who his neighbor was (Luke 10:29) hoping to define the scope of those whom he should love as himself. I had understood the lesson of the parable to indicate that the answer was that all are my neighbors. This is true, but it is not the whole substance of what Christ answered.

At the end of the story, Christ returns a question to the lawyer, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” (Luke 10:36) The thing that caught my attention was that this question reframes the idea of neighbor. It is not for me to strive to determine who falls within the definition of who is my neighbor. It is for me to become neighbor unto all whom I might encounter. In other words, the question is not, “who is my neighbor?” but rather, “who am I neighbor to?”

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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