Love Your Neighbour As Yourself
Who is my neighbour? Jesus was asked this question by a lawyer who was enquiring about eternal life. As we study this subject of the second commandment (love thy neighbour as thyself) expounded through the Word of God, the answer will become clear to us. I felt moved to write on this subject when I was in the unfortunate position of relying on help from others, due to a temporary physical disability.
Responsibilities to our Neighbour
The parable of the Good Samaritan recorded in Luke 10:39 gives us a very clear picture of helping our neighbour and the responsibilities attached. Firstly, the Good Samaritan did not know the person he was helping. The priest and the Levite, who we would think would be the first to offer help, walked on the other side of the road. Sometimes it is the people we think least of, or perhaps do not even know, who offer the most help. They are often the busiest people—yet they find the time. We need not go out of our way to help: the opportunity can be found on our doorsteps and on our road of life. This is shown in the parable. After all, we are reminded to do good to all men. We should not just offer help to those we enjoy helping or those we get on well with, or those who have offered us help in the past; but we must do good even to our enemies.
The Good Samaritan literally got his hands dirty helping an unfortunate person. It is easy to offer help when it will not cost us time, money or any form of sacrifice. On occasion helping others may hurt. We may feel inclined to restrict our help, lest we ourselves are adversely affected. In the parable, the Samaritan went so far as to offer the innkeeper money from his own pocket. If we should think we are giving too much, let us remember that God has blessed us with all that we have, to use in Christ’s service. After all, Christ gave his life for us and gave it in an agonising way. In fact, his whole life was one of giving. So, whenever we have the opportunity to help someone, let us think of him.
Good excuses as to why we cannot help can always be found. However, we must bear in mind that God has endowed us all with different talents to use to the best of our ability. There can be occasions when we find a person who requires help, yet our own talents are not sufficient; this can be expressed in shyness or a reluctance to help. In such a case we should approach someone who has the right talents. Should there be no one else to turn to, however, we must use our own talents to the best of our ability—and prayerfully.
We can help too much or too little. When preparing to help we should attempt to size up the situation or persons involved, to strike a happy medium. We must also be consistent with our help, particularly with elderly people whose life-style is often one of set routine.
In our walk on the path of life we shall come across people who do not believe in God, yet seem to show more “christian” love than some who are believers. This should remind us of James, who said that faith without works is dead and works without faith are dead also. Therefore, when performing acts of kindness, we must embody spiritual things as well.
S. G. WINTER-MOORE