The Cost of Loving Your Neighbor
Today’s reading: Judges 18-19; Luke 10:25-42
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. Judges 19:25
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37
The value of human life is emphasized throughout the Bible. When asked about how to obtain eternal life, Jesus showed that loving God and loving our neighbor are the two key elements of a righteous life. The first two chapters of the Bible show that Man was specially created by God, male and female, in His image and according to His likeness and given life by His Spirit.
The fall soon introduced alienation from God and between the first humans. Their son was the first murderer, his victim being his own brother (Genesis 1-3).
God in the Bible holds all people responsible for how they treat one another. The command is simple, but it is not easy. Alas! Loving your neighbor as yourself can mean standing up against some serious opposition in society.
The old man in Judges 19 tried to protect the traveler in his village from the abusive men, but his neighbors stormed his house. He foolishly tried to placate their evil desires by offering them his daughter and the visitor’s concubine. In the end, it cost a woman’s life and started a civil war in Israel. The Samaritan in Jesus’ parable reached across a huge racial divide to care for a wounded man. It’s fairly easy in theory to say, “we should all love our neighbors as ourselves,” but it is quite another thing to actually act consistently with that concept.
Those who read the Bible and profess belief in it should be among the most caring of all people, willing and ready to pay a price, if necessary, to preserve and value life. Look for opportunities to show mercy and kindness toward others today, but know that you may not be appreciated for it. It could even cost you more than you thought.