Man is made both to be a neighbour and to have neighbours. No man is an Island. For man to survive and operate successfully on earth, he must relate with people effectively. True enjoyment in life involves being a neighbour and having neighbours.
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (6th Edition) defines a neighbour as:
Firstly, a person who lives next to you or near you;
Secondly, a person or thing that is standing or situated next to another person or thing
Thirdly, a neighbour (literary) can be any other human being.
On the other hand, the scriptures, in addition, describe a neighbour (I will refer to this description in this post), as a person who renders help in any form to another person in need.
Now to continue in this sermon, the text is taken from Luke 10:25-37.
In this passage, Jesus tells a story to answer the question “Who is my neighbour?” He tells a story of a man who was attacked by thieves, wounded and left half dead. A priest and a Levite came and passed by him. However, a Samaritan came and had compassion on him, he bound up his wounds, and took him to an inn, and took care of him. Before departing in the morning, he gave the host some money to take care of the man and promised to reimburse the host, at his return, of any additional expense he may incur in the process of taking care of the injured man. At the end of the story, the Samaritan was chosen as the wounded man’s neighbour, and not the priest or the Levite. From this text, I will deduce how to be a neighbour.
Meanwhile, what is expected of a neighbour?
A neighbour is expected to love the person near him. Romans 13:9-10 says “…you shall love your neighbour as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.”(NKJV) He will not do anything, in any way, that will hurt the person near him.
Also, he is to speak the truth with the person near him. Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour, for we are members of one another.” (NKJV)
Honesty is required of a neighbour. Furthermore, a neighbour is not to bear false witness against the person near him. Exodus 20:16 says, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (NKJV)
In addition, he is to show mercy to the person near him. Luke 10:36-37 says, ““So which of these three do you think was a neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”” (NKJV)
Lastly, He is to plead for the person near him. Job 16:21 says, “Oh, that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbour!” (NKJV)
According to the text, Luke 10:25-37, how then can you become a neighbour?
The first thing the Samaritan did to become a neighbour to the wounded man was that he chose to stop and help the wounded man. To be or not to be a neighbour is by choice. Everybody gets the opportunity to make this choice at different points in life.
Secondly, the Samaritan sacrificed his time, what ever appointment or programme he was going for, his money, energy, and his reputation, etc., to be able to help the wounded man. It is the readiness to make the necessary and adequate sacrifice that influences the choice to be or not to be a neighbour to another person.
The scriptures tell us that whatever anyone sows, that shall he reap. Sow the seeds of a good Samaritan into another person’s life and reap same when the time comes.
Now go and do likewise!
How else can you be a neighbour?
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Image @flickr by Zouny