Tweaking My Neighbor

105_0134 I started a thought last week on a chilly morning in the Columbia Metro Airport that I want to follow through on this week a bit. I mentioned some thoughts around Matthew 22, Jesus’ exchange on the greatest commandments: "love God, and love others as you love yourself". I think we focus too much on, "well, I need to love myself", instead of "love others".

Then there’s the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10, where the teacher asks, "so who is my neighbor?" Again, it’s the wrong question, the wrong focus. Jesus answered, and they missed it. It seems to me that the point of the parable isn’t so much "who is my neighbor so that I may know who to help", but instead, isn’t it "be a neighbor"? That it’s more important to be a person who’s neighborly than to worry about who receives that neighborliness?

I find that I’m wired in a way that wants to find the layered meaning behind the obvious, or beyond "the way I’ve always learned". And this is one of those places where we all know what Jesus is saying – and yet, while most of us would say we know it and understand it, we live in a society that still has its un-neighborly, unhelpful, religiously disengaged moments. I find it in me, and then I see something like this passage from a slightly askew perspective, and I hope there’s still hope for me to live this out.

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5 thoughts on “Tweaking My Neighbor

  1. Chuck says:

    This is one reason why I love to read your blog. You have a unique ability to come at a teaching from a non-traditional approach that doesn’t negate the standard, but enhances it by focusing the spotlight on ourselves. Bravo.

  2. Rick says:

    Thanks, Charles. Unfortunately, I think I also give folks too much reason to think to themselves, “he’s off his nob”. Such is life, huh?

  3. Steve says:

    I’m with Chuck, this is a great post, Rick. I need to be more “neighborly” and be ready to be that neighbor Jesus talked of–one never can tell when that beaten, bruised Samaritan will be on the side of the road I’m travelling.
    Thanks for the blessing, brother.

  4. Rick says:

    Just tweaking the world, one good buddy at a time I suppose.

  5. Deb says:

    One of our younger pastors spoke about the Good Samaritan tonight. He talked about how the Jews did not like the Samaritans but how the Samaritan was the only one who responded to the injured man. He asked who are the Samaritans in our lives? Who are those we avoid, despise, or whatever? Just because they don’t look like us doesn’t mean they aren’t God’s children and one we should care for. It actually startled me when he asked who the Samaritans in our lives were. I can think of a few who I look at differently although I know they are good people and they are searching for something more. That something being God and they haven’t realized it yet.

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