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How do I love my neighbor like Christ?

This blog is part 2 of a 3 part series. You can read part 1 of the series here.

Our study of the parable of The Good Samaritan first considered the question: Who are the people we are to love? Now we explore the process through which the Samaritan showed neighborly love.

The Process

What happened in this story? The Samaritan came across a man lying in the road “half-dead” and took “pity” on him. (Luke 10: 30,33) However, it is not the encounter or even the pity that teaches us about neighborly love, rather it is compassion moved to action.

“He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” Luke 10:34

Did the Samaritan know the full extent of the man’s injuries?

Did he know if the robbers and danger were still lurking behind the rocks?

Did he know how long it would take the injured man to recover?

Did he know the financial cost that accompanied his act of kindness?

The answer to each of those questions is probably no. And yet the Samaritan responded with unprecedented love. He set aside his plans and his schedule, entered into the man’s suffering and pain, and showed compassion through action.

This story reminds me of Jesus himself, who sacrificed on our behalf. Much like the man lying on the road, you and I were “half-dead” in our trespasses.  Jesus left the comforts and safe immunity of heaven to enter into our suffering, alienation and idolatry in order to bring us back to life (Eph. 2:5). He emptied himself of his glory, entered into our temptations and exposed himself to injustices and pain in order to serve. (Matt 20:28) Jesus lived and died to love us.

Jesus explains in John 20:21 “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” The Christian mission is to be modeled on Christ’s mission. Just as Jesus was moved to action by His compassion for the hungry, helpless, harassed and sick, should not His followers be motivated by the same needs? Compassion moved to action will involve for us, as it did for Him, an entering into other people’s worlds and demonstrating the love of neighbor.

What does this look like for me?

Incarnational ministry necessitates identification with the people we serve.

In the book “Involvement: Being a Responsible Christian in a Non-Christian Society,” John Stott states: “In evangelism it will mean entering their thought world, and the world of their tragedy and lostness, in order to share Christ with them where they are. In social activity it will mean a willingness to renounce the comforts and security of our cultural background in order to give ourselves in service to people of another culture, whose needs we may never before have known or experienced.” [1]

 How is God calling you to enter into the pain of the lost and share His love?

For generations Jesus’ followers, like the good Samaritan, have demonstrated neighborly love by standing with the lowly and voiceless through:

·  Serving in hospitals and sitting at the bedsides of those dying.

·  Protecting children from the sex-trafficking industry and walking with them through their healing and recovery.

·  Teaching and caring for the disabled, showing the value of all human life.

·  Creating relationships in the ghettos in order to protest against inhumane conditions.

·  Attending to and listening to the needs of the neglected elderly.

·  Coming alongside and staying with junkies during their time of withdrawal.

Where is your part in this process?

Simply feeling sorry for the lost and broken is not enough. Jesus has called His followers to kneel down beside them and sit with them in their pain, oppression and abandonment. To speak words of truth to the demonized and reveal Godly love to those on the margins.

Where is God calling you to enter in? How can your love of neighbor reflect the same compassion moved to action as the Good Samaritan?

[1] Stott, John. “Involvement: Being a Responsible Christian in a Non-Christian Society.” F.H. Revell Co., 1985.

About John

John Warden, our Director of Mission Initiatives, provides oversight and training for the TCT - Local program. John has had the opportunity to work with Christians around the world in elements of worldview, poverty, outreach and wholistic ministry. Join us in this initiative to reach and love the world around us for God’s glory.

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