“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbour as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” –James 2:8-9 (NIV)
Who is my neighbour? For the Jewish expert in the Law, who asked this question in the tenth chapter of Luke, it was not only just fellow Jews, but those Jews who followed the Law of Moses to the letter. However, the Jewish teacher’s idea of who qualified as his neighbour was far too narrow according to God’s standards. Jesus, through His Parable of the Good Samaritan, revealed to the Pharisee that his neighbour was not just the people who looked and talked like him, but also those he had absolutely no intention of interacting with. Jews viewed Samaritans as heretics who defiled the Jewish faith by mixing it with Greek religion and philosophy. Naturally, the Samaritans resented this and both parties would do as much as possible to avoid contact with each other. Jesus, by illustrating the picture of a Samaritan helping a Jew in his time of need, was clear in His message; and it wouldn’t have sounded pleasing at all to the ears of the time.
Are there people in our lives whom we refrain from showing the love of God? We could be perfectly warm and charming people around those whom we deem worthy of our concern, but cold and antagonistic towards those who for whatever reason are contemptible in our eyes. However, Christ’s love knows no boundaries. He loves each and every individual on this Earth for we all bear the image of God, despite the fact that we are all equal before Him in our sin. His love does not pick favourites for He never said that His redemptive sacrifice was reserved for a select few. It was meant for all, regardless of who they were, who would come before Him with hearts full of humility; yearning to see sin’s hold on them broken and their relationship with God restored. If we are selective in our love towards others, then we have failed to understand God Himself and what it means to follow Him. Our righteousness and piety is meaningless if the love of Christ is not paramount in our lives. When we allow the Holy Spirit to invade our hearts and impart to us the love of Christ, we will be able to see everyone around us as being equal under His unconditional love and equally deserving of His grace.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.