Joyful Noise: My Closest Neighbors

c) 2014 Jocelyn Mathewes / used with permission

c) 2014 Jocelyn Mathewes / used with permission

In that famous exchange from the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus was asked, “And who is my neighbor?”

I used to read this passage and think, “What an arrogant jerk, asking Jesus a stupid question like that.”

But now I see that lawyer (even though “he wanted to justify himself”) was on to something.

Are my neighbors on Facebook? Is it the lady next door? Is it the parents of the kid my child goes to school with? Does it include the people in faraway war-torn countries?  What about the people who, because of my own failures, I simply dislike?

I’m sure all of these are my neighbors. But who are our closest neighbors? With whom do we have the greatest amount of time in which to practice our love? Who do I have to love selflessly, all the time?

My husband. My family. My children.

This is both an easy thing, and immensely challenging. For, although “even sinners love those who love them” (Luke 6:32, NIV), there are some days when doing that can be the greatest and most important struggle I face.

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