[Jesus asked,] “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)
Love is at the center of who we are. It captures our affections and drives our intentions. When our lives are brought into alignment with God’s pattern for human life, our love is first applied to our relationship with God and secondly to our relationship with our neighbor, the people whom we encounter in our everyday life.
It is because God first loved us and gave His one and only Son for us the we love Him in return above all else in our life and with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind. That love for God is lived out in a practical sense by showing mercy to those in need around us. Our willingness to be gracious, generous, compassionate and kind is an indication that God’s love is at work in our heart. We cannot help but be merciful to others because we are overwhelmed by the mercy of God toward us personally.
So where does being a good neighbor begin? It begins by immersing ourselves in the mercy of God: recognizing that our brokenness and frailty is greater than we know, and yet the forgiveness, love and salvation we need flows without limit or condition from Jesus to us in a tidal wave of grace that washes us clean of all our sin.
Dear Jesus, help me to rest in your mercy and love for me so I can be merciful and loving to the people in need whom I encounter. Amen.