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Whom Shall I Love?

Love your neighbor as yourself  Luke 10:27 

” Few stories have so made an impression on the world as this.  It has been called most practical of parables.  Read the story

A lawyer asks the most important question―Jesus was often asked.  “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?  A difficult question, he thought.  “Love God, Love your neighbor,” Jesus answers simply.

Now the lawyer asks what he thinks is an unanswerable question.  “Who is my neighbor―whom shall I love?  The theologian, Helmut Thielicke calls this ”theological fencing.”  He says, “He is itching to slip like an eel from his grasp if this Jesus would reach out for his soul.  He had rubbed his inner man, as it were, with soap.  Countless people do that.  Any pastor can tell you about these slippery souls….As long as a man has some pious questions to ask he doesn’t need to act.”  To speculate and brood about theological questions to escape responsiblity is wrong!

This shows a basic misunderstanding of love.  It has no boundaries to love except need and ability.  “Love ‘like the sun, which does not ask on what it shall shine, or what it shall warm, but shines and warms by the very law of its own being’” (William Trench).

Jesus tells the story, the story most often called “The Good Samaritan.”  A man beaten and robbed along the road and left for dead is helped not by the religious who pass by but by one normally an enemy to this man.

And Jesus asks, “Who was the neighbor to the man?  A different question than the lawyer had asked, one which reverses the question.  A neighbor is one who shows mercy, has compassion, one with a “big heart.”  And we are reminded that, “Anybody who loves must always be prepared to have his plans interrupted.”(168).

          To whom am I a neighbor?  To whom are you a neighbor?

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