THE WORD: Love thy neighbor

“The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix)” (1890) is a painting by Vincent van Gogh which is a copy of a similar painting by Eugene Delacroix, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands (U.S. Public Domain)

Last week, we looked at kindness as “goodness in action.” This week, the sixth element of the Fruit of the Spirit is actual goodness. During the summer, we examined the parables taught by Jesus in Matthew 13. As we examine the Fruit of the Spirit, we encounter one of the most famous parables of the Bible — The Parable of the Good Samaritan. The question presented in the parable is: Who is my neighbor? The answer, in the parable, is anyone in need.  

The background that is often lost in the tale of the Good Samaritan is that the Jews and the Samaritans were at odds with each other and disapproved of each other’s behavior. We find ourselves today in similar factions. We have also recently seen celebrations of the illness, accidents or shortfalls besetting those with opposing views. The teaching of Jesus is to “love thy neighbor” regardless of tribe, creed, or predicament. 

Luke 10:30-33

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,