You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. ~Matthew 28:30 (CEB)

I love to find thoughts on scripture that I haven’t heard before. I wrote a few weeks back about a viewpoint my dad shared with me on the “good Samaritan”. My dad wondered how the victim might feel about being helped by someone he would normally have nothing to do with much less trust or allow to touch him. In his book, ” Bread for the Journey”, Henri Nouwen has another interesting view.

“Love your neighbor as yourself,” the Gospel says (Matthew 22:38). But who is my neighbor? We often respond to that question by saying: “My neighbors are all the people I am living with on this earth, especially the sick, the hungry, the dying, and all who are in need.” But this is not what Jesus says. When Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:29-37) to answer the question “Who is my neighbor?” he ends the by asking: “Which, … do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the man who fell into the bandits’ hands?” The neighbor, Jesus makes clear, is not the poor man laying on the side of the street, 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.” My neighbor is the one who crosses the road for me.”

The person who stops his journey to take a moment for me when I am hurting is my neighbor. This is who I should love as myself. Instead of being resentful for needing help I need to be thankful for the connection. There are many people I am thankful that crossed that road to help me. There are many people that I now call a good friend that I would never have known if it wasn’t for life’s circumstances. Some of the greatest jewels come through surviving this journey through life. I treasure those whom God has sent to show His love to me.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for neighbors You have sent to me along my journey. May I always remember to treasure these jewels among the muck of life. May I also remember to be thankful for help and not resentful that I found myself needing help. Amen.

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