(Editor’s Note: You might want to check out Love Well–Part 1 before starting on Part 2.)
But… A New Time. A New Neighbor
We’ve left the Industrial Age and entered the Engagement Era. Neighbors we have never met face to face enter our living rooms, our bedrooms, and yes even our bathrooms with their ideas, rants, and passions via social media.
We live in a time when relationships are more important than the bottom dollar. Business models are built on relationships with competitors and customers. Being known and doing good is more important than the product being sold. Our world has gone social and it has shrunk considerably. We have more access to our neighbors than ever before. The world is becoming transparent and it is good, so very good.
As a teen I remember going to a youth group conference where we were told one day we will stand before Christ and all of our sins will be displayed for all to see. It will be like big movie screens before the world, playing “This is your life.” I was terrified. But it’s already happening. Our lives are displayed on screens, big and small, carried around in people’s pockets, and scrolled through in their hands, sometimes even on their watch screens.
We don’t hide who we are or what we believe. We share it with each other and we find a tribe to support us as we do (whether they are virtual or face to face). Love has become the buzzword of our faith and our country. Whether we are living the truth of it or not, we are hashtagging the heck out of #LoveWins.
We are being transparent about who and what we are. And, again, it is so very good. Because when we aren’t transparent we begin to believe the lies ourselves. We miss the fact that Christ is talking to us and he isn’t patting us on the back saying well done, you are the Samaritan in this story. No. He is showing us our faults. He is saying you are the two who walk by and don’t stop and you let others love when it is you I have called to love.
Love only wins if we are giving it away.
Christ is giving us a way to restore the goodness that was created in the beginning. He came to redeem us through his death on the cross and resurrection. Christ is only asking us to love those he loves. To love his creation, the creation he first called good.
Jesus is increasing our understanding of what it is God is asking of us. Jesus is drawing us a little closer to understanding God. Our creator is asking for our hearts.
When the expert in the law said, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself,” he was in fact defining a practical way in which to love the Lord.
But how is the second like the first? How is loving our neighbor the same as loving God?
Mathew 25:31-46 holds answers.
It‘s pretty long, so here’s the summary:
God comes back and separates people. Some on his right and some on his left. To those on his right he says you are blessed, come with me to heaven because “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to me.” And those on his right are confused. They aren’t sure when they did these things. The answer: “When you did it for each other, even the least of them, you did it to me.”
That Jew on the side of the road, the one who was beaten and left for dead, he probably wouldn’t have done the same for the Samaritan who helped him. But that is the point really. We help those who can’t help themselves and we expect nothing (not even kindness) in return. After all, Christ loved his neighbors and they nailed him to a cross.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][tweetthis]After all, Christ loved his neighbors and they nailed him to a cross.[/tweetthis]
So what does it look like to live a life where our heart’s intent is to love and honor God? It is in loving others.
The ultimate application of the Good Samaritan is to love those who never would have loved you first, who are unable to return the favor, and may never understand your why. Love the broken, the unlovable, the ones who aren’t able to love you back.
The goodness of God should be stuck in our heads like a bad jingle that has to get out. It should be like that commercial with Peyton Manning where every time he speaks the tune comes out with him. We should be so overflowing with the understanding of God’s goodness that it seeps out in every interaction, with everyone we are called to love.
As Fort Bliss Military Spouse of the Year 2015, Hope N. Griffin writes about her experience as a military spouse. Hope has an MABS from Dallas Theological Seminary and is the author of Finding Joy: The Year Apart That Made Me A Better Wife. Currently, Hope serves as the Director of Family Ministries at First Presbyterian in El Paso, TX. You can follow her at www.HopeNGriffin.com and facebook.com/HopeNGriffin[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]