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
Who is our neighbor? Jesus says our neighbors are those we meet who are in need, especially the needy who are outcasts. Religious people may ignore a suffering race indifferently, or label a lifestyle as repulsive, but Jesus sees them with compassion. The individuals Jesus spent most of His time loving are the ones who were marginalized by those who felt spiritually superior. Ironically, the “Good Samaritan” loved someone who may not have done the same for him.
Furthermore, when we take time to care for those much different from ourselves,we model the love of Christ. It is easy to love those like us, but more difficult to love those from a diverse culture. We do risk rejection from religious people too busy with programs that care only for their own kind. They reason, “We don’t have the time, money or interest to care for those of a different culture, while our people still have needs.” However, love looks beyond its own and offers care!
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. Luke 6:32
Racism is a raw nerve that requires intentional investment by those of us with influence. We all have opportunities to accept those who have been rejected and bring healing to those who have been hurt. Yes, those who have been robbed of equal rights need us to make things right through education, legislation and jobs. However, the quiet generosity and engagement of Jesus followers is the most effective in affecting society for good. The sufferings of those trapped in generational cycles of cynicism desperately need our compassion. Christians are called to care for strangers.
Who in your life is beat down by their circumstances and needs you to lift them up? Who can you search out that has been robbed of their rights, that you can stand in as their advocate for justice? Perhaps for a season your generosity will give hope to someone who faces temporary setbacks. It may require you to get your hands dirty in dealing with their issues, because relationships are messy and complicated. Care for strangers can lead them to love Christ, the ultimate caregiver!
I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. Job 29:16
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a heart of courage to care for those different from me, who are in desperate need.
Related Readings: Leviticus 25:35; Job 31:32; Matthew 25:35-44; Hebrews 13:2; 3 John 1:5
Post/Tweet today: The quiet generosity and engagement of Jesus followers is the most effective in affecting society for good. #involved
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