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Luke 10:29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
When I was growing up, I lived in a very segregated town in Alabama. There was a section for Blacks and another for Whites. My father delivered groceries for a store that he and my grandfather ran. I remember one day making the rounds with my dad. I went into several Black homes, and I remember how strange it seemed to me to be there. I had been raised to think of Blacks as not being like me. They were somehow different and inferior.
During seminary days in Ft. Worth I came into contact with Hispanic culture for the first time. I realized that for many who had been raised there the situation was much like I had seen in Alabama. Hispanics and Anglos lived as if they occupied different worlds and didn’t see themselves as being equal partners in community.
Today, when I visit a mall or a restaurant, I see a multitude of cultures around me. There are a multitude of languages and skin tones. However, my walk with Jesus over these years has changed my outlook. I am no longer a young man influenced by my culture to view those who are different from me as being not my concern. I have lived with the gospel long enough to know that everyone around me is truly my neighbor.
That was the whole point of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, introduced by the verse above. Jesus set out for His hearers a story that would have indeed sounded strange in that culture. The hated Samaritan became the true neighbor. He went overboard to care for the man who was beset by robbers. Jesus reminded His hearers of the fact that all people are created in the image of God. He loves and cares for all. He expects us to do the same.
Wherever you go this week look at all the variety of humanity that God has placed around you. Realize that you are seeing your neighbors connected to you by the love of God. Put a smile on your lips and words of kindness on your tongue. Touch those you find in your path with His love.