In the days of Christ ,Jews and Samaritans were at violent odds with each other. Jews went so far as to call Samaritans half-breeds and would not associate with them. Jesus of course showed us something by speaking to the Samaritan woman and further made a point by telling a parable about the Good Samaritan who helped the man robbed and left for dead when his own people would not help.
But it is what is said before he told that parable that struck me. When he asked the Jewish teacher of the law how do you read the law, the teacher responded with "love your God and love your neighbor" as the most important. Jesus then said "do this and you will live". The response of the teacher was of course "who is my neighbor?".
Well that is my question based on the results of a parable where a man considered a half-breed by others, someone who religious people feel justified hating, he was the one who helped that man back on his feet. In today's world that parable might be titled The Good Muslim.
And what are we to think of that, a man of a religion that is different than ours, who might help someone that no man or woman of Christian faith would? Way back in the 80's I had two of them who helped me to straighten out my life, Abu Shaka and Jibri, two black Muslims who challenged my faith and challenged me to get my life back together. Then, as a gesture of faith, they came to my wedding at Sandy Springs Church of Christ.
You see, our neighbor is everyone, regardless of race or religion. Jesus played no favorites as God plays no favorites. The last two weeks at Campus, Dusty has told us of Muslim's who converted to Christ despite all odds, and we never know the one "neighbor" we may influence who God wants us to befriend.
Hatred only begets more hatred. Love however covers over a multitude of sins. The real question is does God love my neighbor?
I think you know the answer.
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.