Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbour’?”
Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way, he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off, leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him, he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
“A Samaritan travelling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning, he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbour to the man attacked by robbers?”
“The one who treated him kindly,” the religious scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
The Good Samaritan parable, (Luke 10:29-37), teaches us the importance of offering practical help to those in need, regardless of the cost of time, energy, or money. It emphasizes the importance of compassion, empathy, and selflessness, irrespective of a person’s background or beliefs.
Instead of asking, “Who is my neighbour?” we should ask ourselves, “Who can I be a neighbour to?” This shift in perspective encourages us to proactively seek out opportunities to help others rather than waiting for them to come to us. By doing so, we expand our definition of “neighbour” beyond geographic or social boundaries and work towards creating a more inclusive and compassionate society.
To live out this principle in our daily lives, we can:
- Be observant: Keep an eye out for those who might need assistance, whether it’s someone struggling to carry their groceries, a lost tourist, or a person facing homelessness.
- Be approachable: Make yourself available to those who need help by being friendly, open, and non-judgmental. This will make it easier for others to ask for assistance when needed.
- Be proactive: Offer your help to others without waiting to be asked. This may involve volunteering at local organizations, participating in community projects, or simply offering a helping hand to someone you encounter daily.
- Be empathetic: Put yourself in the shoes of others and try to understand their feelings and perspectives. This will enable you to better respond to their needs and offer support most helpfully and appropriately.
- Be open-minded: Expand your definition of “neighbour” to include not just those who live near you or share your background but anyone who crosses your path, regardless of race, nationality, or beliefs. Recognize that everyone has unique needs and experiences, and strive to be a good neighbour to all.Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”