Focal passage: Luke 10:25-37
Corrie ten Boom lived in the Nazi occupied Netherlands during Wolrd War II. She witnessed many of her Jewish neighbors being harassed or disappear entirely. As she saw their homes being raided and business plundered, Corrie knew she had to do something.
For several years Corrie risked her life by hiding Jews. While many residents in her own city became Nazi sympathizers and informants for the Gestapo, Corrie and her collegues continued their work at great personal risk to themselves. She understood what it meant to love her neighbors.
In Luke 10, Jesus uses the parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate how the command to love one’s neighbor (v. 27) extends beyond nationality, status or ethnicity. Most Jews only saw other Jews as their neighbors, not Samaritans or a Gentiles. Jesus pushed the boundaries on what it meant to truly be somebody’s neighbor.
There is a strong tendency to avoid people who are different from us. Perhaps they hold different political views, look different or live a different lifestyle. We typically spend time with those who act or think like us.
The Samaritan in Jesus’ parable was willing to go out of his way for someone who probably wouldn’t have done the same for them. In the same way, believers can demonstrate their love for God by extending mercy and compassion to others who are different from them.
The puritan Thomas Adams once said, “He that demands mercy and shows none ruins the bridge over which he himself is to pass.” Scripture is clear that we are all in need of the mercies of God. When we fail to show mercy to those who behave differently from us we fail to reflect the very mercy God has lavished on us.
What might it look like to love your neighbor today? How can Christians show mercy on social media, in the supermarket or at work? Christians can help breathe life into their communities when they are willing to demonstrate mercy and compassion to those who are different from them.