“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Galatians 5:14).
Its often easy to be misunderstood by others despite our best intentions. For instance, people are often influenced by a variety of internal and external factors that may be largely unknown to us. Those variables might include previous life experiences, spiritual or emotional maturity, personal characteristics, stress, or an assortment of other factors.
Then there are those well-intentioned individuals who sometimes fail to consider the potential effects of their decisions, much like we see in the meme shown at left. These unfortunate realities can sometimes lead to misunderstandings with others. It can be challenging to respond graciously in such instances, especially when they occur with other brothers and sisters in Christ.
Therefore it is our responsibility to prayerfully love our neighbors as ourselves as we’re told in the Scripture quoted above and make “…allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” (Ephesians 4:2 TLB). One of the clearest ways to define what it means to “…love your neighbor as yourself'” is to look at an occasion when Jesus answered a similar inquiry in the form of a parable. That parable has come to be known as The Parable Of The Good Samaritan and will occupy the focus of our next few studies…
“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’
But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Then Jesus answered and said: ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead'” (Luke 10:25-30).
First-century travelers from Jerusalem to Jericho had to negotiate a number of desolate, mountainous passageways during their journey. Travelers of that era also had to be alert to the threat of thieves and predatory animals along the way. Unfortunately, the man in this parable fell prey to a merciless band of criminals who robbed him so thoroughly that they even stripped him of his clothing.
This powerful image of a bloodied, beaten, naked victim set the stage for what happened next.
See related message here
Image credit: imgur