“‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’”Luke 10:36-37
A crafty lawyer rose to question a young rabbi named Jesus. The crowds called the popular teacher their “Messiah,” so the lawyer thought to put Him to the test. But the tables turned when Jesus asked him a few questions of His own.
Like many of us still today, the lawyer was looking for a loophole in God’s Law. His self-justifying response, “Who is my neighbor?” (v. 29) was an attempt to reinterpret Scripture’s plain message. He wanted to conveniently narrow the list of persons whom he must love, perhaps only leaving his friends and favorite relatives.
The temptation to avoid being neighborly exists here in prison, too. We even have an excuse for it: the first rule of the “convict code” is mind your own business. Often “meddling” in another inmate’s affairs causes trouble. A prisoner had best be private and not overly friendly. To ignore these customs is risky. But if I honestly consider whom Christ called me to be a neighbor to, I have the chance to put the Lord’s prodigal grace into practice. Go and do likewise!
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and with truth.” (1 John 3:18)