Who is my neighbour?
Updated: Jan 29
Who is my neighbour?, he asked. (Luke 15:29). And the answer was pretty obvious.. wasn’t it? There is a blindness that is quite dazzling in his question. He had reduced the expansive love of God into an incredibly narrow window and had lost his way in a fog of rules, convenience, and duty. Of course, there are people we prefer to love, as did he. That’s the narrow window. But Jesus blows the windows away and reminds all that God’s love is without favouritism or discrimination (positive or negative). All are equally deserving (or undeserving) of God’s love, yet it is freely given to all. The real problem is revealed in his question.
Sometimes, likewise, our real problems are revealed in the questions we are asking. Those who truly experience the love of God know how indiscriminate, undeserved, freely-given, unrelenting, heart-and-life-transforming and healthily humbling it is. It is His love that defines what love looks like. The questioner did not know this love. We don’t normally need anyone to remind us to love within the scope of the narrow window; we naturally love those near and dear to us. Healthy love usually finds appropriate situational expression. But there is a broader window too. This is the one Jesus is highlighting. It is big enough to afford plenty of opportunities for loving service and giving. However, when the practice of love becomes narrowed and tedious to me - and it does - I probably need to be renewed in the love of God; the love of God which softens and expands hardened and tired hearts. It overcomes, once again, the transactional tendency of the old heart. Jesus says: "Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; abide in My love" (John 15:9). The love of God for us is real. Abide in His love.