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Looking Outside Yourself, Part II
And behold a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying,"Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" So he answered and said, " You shall love the Lord your God with all  your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, 'and your neighbor as yourself.'" And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." But wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"  Luke 10: 25-29
When we think about who our neighbor is I believe that we have the image in our minds of Mr. Roger's neighborhood; a place of peace and endless tranquility, but today that is just not the case. Just yesterday on the news I heard of some good Samaritans that stopped to help a man that had just been in an accident. As they approached the car in good faith to assist the man he pulled out a shotgun and killed two of them and wounded the rest. Helping people can sometimes lead to a dangerous situation, but none the less Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors.
Ultimately everyone on the planet is our neighbor, even our enemies and Jesus said to love them too. You mean we are to love terrorists, murderers, sex offenders, immigrants and even Democrats? Jesus said to love them all so that we would be called sons of our Father in Heaven. In other words we are to love people just as God does, even in their sin. Remember your condition when God came to you, in my case it was not a pretty sight, addicted to drugs and alcohol, involved in every kind of perversion and cussing like a sailor He didn't hesitate to pour out His grace and mercy on me and call me a son.
When the lawyer asked Jesus who his neighbor was He proceeded to tell the story of a man beaten, robbed and left bleeding in the street. The first responders, two so-called church folks didn't respond, but left the man to bleed to death. The third was a man whom the bible describes as one who showed mercy and compassion. This good Samaritan did everything humanly possible to assist the wounded man and even left money to pay for his recovery. How many today would risk getting involved with someone shot, robbed, beaten and left for dead? 
Everyday someone is robbed, car-jacked, raped, left for dead or just loses everything and becomes homeless and destitute. God has called the Christian community to rise to the occasion with mercy and compassion and provide for those in need, and some have but there is such a great need for more to be done. Billions are spent every year on church buildings, pews, sound systems and fat staff salaries to finance the religious corporations of the world while most of the population starves outside their doors. What a travesty and a disgrace upon the church of today.
Loving God with all of your heart and loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself are the two most important commands in the Bible. They not only describe what eternal life is all about, they fulfill the entire word of God. The cross of Jesus Christ represents two relationships, the vertical between God and man and the horizontal between man and everyone else. Our mission in life ought to be reaching out to everyone with the same love that God has shown to us, thus fulfilling His eternal purpose for all of mankind.
Jesus said, "So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among thieves?" And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen. Hebrews 13: 20,21
May the Lord open the eyes of your understanding and bless you with wisdom,
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin