Six AM. Perfect. Only three cars were at the gas station. I should be out of there in no time, I thought to myself. After filling up, I pulled out of the gas lanes and headed for the exit. On my driver’s side, a car pulled up alongside me and was much too close. I honked my horn at the same time he honked his. Too late. The unmistakable sound of metal crunching followed. We both parked on the side and surveyed the damage to our cars.
“What are you DOING?” Even though it was still dark, I could see his face was red with anger.
“I was going to ask YOU the same thing!” I shouted back.
“Didn’t you HEAR my horn?”
“Didn’t you hear MINE?”
Impasse. Great. We were shouting at each other, desirous to get our points across. We both took photographs of the damages on both cars. Tense moments later, we exchanged driver’s licenses and insurance information on the hood of his car. It was then I noticed his address.
“We’re neighbors!” We both looked at each other’s driver’s licenses and realized we lived a few miles from one another.
“Huh, how about that?” His voice dropped several decibels from a few moments earlier. He shook his head. “Hey listen, stuff happens. That’s why we have insurance, right?”
I nodded. “Yeah, are you able to drive?”
He nodded affirmatively. We shook hands and parted ways. The situation rapidly escalated to a shouting match. It was only when we discovered that we were neighbors did the situation defuse.
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.'”
Luke 10:25-27 (NKJV)
The lawyer came to Jesus and wanted to test Him. He knew the law and its requirements, correctly quoting God’s laws. But after Jesus affirmed his answer, he was not done.
But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:29 (NKJV)
Jesus then told the parable of the Good Samaritan, familiar to many. After Jesus told this parable, He challenged the lawyer to rethink his definition of a neighbor.
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)
The Samaritan dramatically demonstrated who a true neighbor is. It is not a geographic, cultural, or ethnic closeness. It is showing mercy unto another. Instead of losing my temper and engaging in a shouting match, I should have acted like a true neighbor. I was not a very good witness for Jesus Christ.
I was his close physical neighbor but I was a distant spiritual neighbor.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.