“’So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?’ And he said, ‘He who showed mercy on him.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:36-37 NKJV)
“That’s mighty neighborly of you, friend.” You hear things like that a lot in Texas. We take pride in being neighborly. We watch out for the people who live around us. That’s good, isn’t it? That was the question a lawyer had when he mentioned the importance of loving our neighbors as ourselves. When he asked Jesus who our neighbor was, Jesus’s response was to tell a story and let the lawyer figure it out. The key to the story, as should have been obvious to the lawyer, is that it’s not the physical proximity of the other person when it comes to defining neighbors, it’s that we be neighborly to all. Let’s face it though, it’s not always easy to be a neighbor the way some people act. Oh sure, if someone is hurt by others, we’ll help them out. When people are reasonable, we’ve got no problem being neighborly. But, doggone it, not everyone’s reasonable. Sometimes people are downright unreasonable bordering on ornery. Sometimes we work with those people. Sometimes we’re related to them. Sometimes they’re our customers. And much as we wish the message of Jesus was different, He lets us know that we’re supposed to show mercy to them, just as God showed mercy to us.
How’d you do today when you dealt with people who were unreasonable, ornery, or who needed mercy? Did you feel like you’d reached the end of your rope and wanted to lash out? Sometimes, people seem unreasonable because of what they’re going through. Make plans to treat unreasonable people with God’s mercy tomorrow and see if that doesn’t make a difference in their lives, and yours.
Lord, sometimes people can be so unreasonable and hard to love. Help me to love them anyway, just like You loved me at my most unreasonable times. Give me the grace to show them Your grace instead of reacting with anger.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.