Jesus said that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Who is my neighbor?
For years I have heard it said, and have myself taught that my neighbors are those who are sick, hungry, dying and all who are in need."
While we ARE to reach out to the sick, hungry, dying and all who are in need, Jesus had a different definition of who my neighbor is.
When Jesus tells the story of the "Good Samaritan" in Luke 10:29-37, he was asked, "Who is my neighbor?". Jesus responds with a question, "which...do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the man who fell into the bandits' hands?"
According to Jesus, the neighbor is not the poor man lying on the side of the road, stripped, beaten and half dead, but the Samaritan who crossed the road, "Bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them...Lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him."
Who is my neighbor? The person who crossed the road for me!
To become a neighbor to someone is to bridge the gap between us and them, for as long as there is distance between us, we can't look into each other's eyes and have all sorts of false ideas and images about one another.
Some people give others names, make jokes about them, cover them with their prejudices and avoid direct contact.
They think of others as enemies. They forget that they love as we all love, they care for their children as we care for ours, become sick and die as we do.
Let's not forget that others around us are our brothers and sisters and that we are not to treat them as objects that can be destroyed at will.
Let's cross the road and look into one another's eyes so that we can see that we are children of the same God and members of the same human family.
Let's be a neighbor today!