Robert Williamson, Jr., my professor and academic advisor back at Hendrix College, re-posted his article on the parable of the Good Samaritan recently, and it’s still as timely as ever. I hope you’ll read the full post, but this bit in particular spoke to me:
Jesus rejects the question, “Who is my neighbor?” He denies the assertion that there are some people who are within our sphere of concern and others who remain outside of it. It is illegitimate to question who is and is not our neighbor.
Rather than asking who is and is not our neighbor, our task as Christians is to be a neighbor to anyone who is need. It doesn’t matter if they are our neighbor. Our responsibility is to be their neighbor by showing mercy to everyone who needs it. There is no us and them. There is only mercy.
Jesus takes every barrier we set up between ourselves and other people—whether they be national, cultural, racial, political, or otherwise—and throws it out the window. We may want to limit our responsibility to only those we like or those whose interests align with ours, but our faith compels us to do otherwise.
That family who lives next door? You’re called to be a neighbor to them. (Duh.)
That person in front of you in the grocery store line? You’re called to be a neighbor to them.
That guy who just cut you off in traffic? You’re called to be a neighbor to him.
Those children locked in cages at our southern border? You are called by God to be a neighbor to them.
If you profess to follow Jesus, you don’t get to pick and choose who you want to be a neighbor to. Jesus already chose for you, and he chose everyone.