Week 3 – who is my neighbor?

October 18, 2009

I don’t really know who lives next door. I met her only once. When i was changing tires in the driveway last week, the lady pulled up and we exchanged brief pleasantries. But that was the whole extent of my interaction with my immediate neighbor with whom I have lived the past 2 years or so.

I have not traveled on the way to Jericho, nor have seen anyone lying in the ditch, beaten, robbed, and naked. Dr. Martin Luther King, in one of his sermons in ‘Strength to Love’ talks about his experience visiting that very place, how it is a dangerous road even today because of its steep descent. Robbers would hide behind the many bends in the roads to prey upon unsuspecting travelers. Have I chosen to travel such dangerous roads? Or have I consciously chosen to avoid these type of situations, to take the long way round, even to the same destination?

A few months ago I was thinking about buying a condo. I of course looked for places near work and church. But I hesitated looking at places that were in the more “ghetto” places. Even picking the current apartment, one of the biggest factors I looked at was the crime rate of the city. Have I avoided the dangerous road? Does the gospel centered life demand that we live in socioeconomically inferior areas, where we wouldn’t want to send our kids to school, or fear being robbed?

On the whole, this questions of who my neighbor is easier to answer if I realize where my destination is. Then the answer is simple: my neighbor is whoever I see that is in need. But this whole helping the neighbor itself isn’t the destination. The Samaritan wasn’t going around dangerous roads looking for people in the ditch. He had a place he had to get to.

So for me, I need to figure out this destination. I think I know what it is (for now anyway). And if I see anyone along the way that needs my help, I must help them. Love everyone that I see, including that lady who lives next door. As for buying that condo – well I won’t be traveling that road any time soon 😛


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