LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
Author: William Andrew Dillard
From the living pages of ages past, comes the encapsulated foundation of acceptable life among men on earth. It is called the Ten Commandments. Some would say the commandments were a part of the Mosaic Law, which has been fulfilled, and no longer in force. Right, and wrong! Jesus did fulfill the Law and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross, Col. 2:14-17, but what is removed from us today is the present penalty of the Law, not the principle. Think with me!
In the initial writing of the Law, the one governing neighborly relationship is stated: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor; Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house, wife, servant, ox, ass, nor anything that thy neighbors. Exo. 20:16-17. Later, this was appropriately summarized as “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” First, to love God supremely, then to love one’s neighbor as one’s self is said to be the summation of all the law.
The question then arises from some who quibble over such things for self justification is: “who then is my neighbor?” This very question was posed to Jesus by a lawyer, and is recorded in Luke 10. It is here that the story of the good Samaritan is related. A man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed, beaten and left half dead in the road. It is ironic that a priest passed by and refused to help. Also a Levite, those who produced the priests, also observed and passed by without helping. It was the lowly Samaritan who took care of the unfortunate traveler, and paid for his medical care. When Jesus posed the question, which of these three was a neighbor to him who fell among thieves, the answer was obvious and so stated: he who showed mercy on him. Jesus’ pointed reply was that they, and us, should go and do likewise.
The position God’s people occupy on this planet is that of an ambassador. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20. Representatives of heaven on earth who are reconciled to God see others in need as their neighbor, and they respond accordingly. It is the right thing to do. It is the godly thing to do. It may not be one’s opportunity to help another who has fallen among thieves, but there are so many other areas of life that manifest a need for help. Chief among those is the obvious need to share the gospel, the great love of the Creator/Redeemer with those who have been wounded by sin. There is no shortage of them. Do you love your neighbor?