Who is my Neighbor?

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The Parable of the Good Neighbor

Someone asked Jesus: Who is my neighbor?

This question is self-focused. “My” is definitive. It looks at what I think, who I consider to be ‘my’ idea of a neighbour. It is restrictive like setting up guidelines or qualifications for others to comply. My neighbor means this person needs to be someone, do something, be somewhere sometime before he qualifies to be called my neighbor.

“My” neighbor is limiting. My neighbor might not be yours and yours might not be mine. ‘My’ is taking ownership for self.

Instead Jesus asked: Whose neighbor are you?

Jesus’ question is a reversal of the centre of attention. The focus is not myself but the other person. This other person sets the qualifications and defines who a neighbor is. “Whose neighbor am I” means I need to be someone, do something, for another person according to the definition and needs of another.

I am his neighbor. I am is her neighbour. Even as I am the subject of the sentence. I am also the predicate/action verb in the sentence because he & she own the word neighbor.

Today, what do I need to do to be a neighbor – to reach out and help someone in need?
Whose words must I open my ears to listen when he/she needs a neighbor to talk to?
To whom must I offer my hand to hold when he/she needs to cross a narrow shaky bridge?
Whose tears do I wipe when he/she is hurting? To whom do I offer my shoulders to cry on?
Whose feet must I wash when he/she is weary and tired from the journey?
Whose hunger can I fill and whose thirst can I quench with the Living Bread and the Living Water who is Jesus?

Luke 10
(Jesus asked)
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Whose ‘merciful’ neighbor will I be today?
Lord, help me to be a good neighbor to someone today.

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