Benefits of Loving Your Neighbors

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This Sunday, Pastor Donnell spoke a second time on the parable of the good Samaritan found in the 10th chapter of the gospel of Luke. He applied our call to be good neighbors via a couple of practical suggestions. One was to make a physical map of the houses, apartments, etc. which surround our living situation and fill in the names of these 6-8 neighbors. The other was to encourage our neighbors when we see them doing something kind or loving to someone. These are wonderful suggestions and I hope that you have considered doing at least one of them. As a prayerful companion to these practical steps towards being a “good Samaritan”, we’d like to suggest that you take a few minutes to pray through this section of Luke 10, which is reprinted below.

As you prepare for this time of prayer, we suggest that you invite God to join you as you consider your role as neighbor to those you meet. As you read the passage the first time, we suggest that you do this slowly, and open your mind to consider the people who live nearby to you. As people come to mind, be open to staying with that person if it seems right. As you hold an image of them in your mind, invite God to look at them with you. Take note of how you feel or think about them. If these seem significant, ask God what he feels and thinks about them. Continue conversing with God as long as it seems profitable for you. When it seems right, return to reading the passage, again being open to whoever comes to mind. As another person comes to mind, again take note of how you feel or think about them. Talk to God about what he feels and thinks about them. If you think that God might have a different view of this person than you do, talk to God about it. Continue reading the passage until you reach the end.

If you have time, go through the passage a second time. This time, read a bit more slowly, again inviting God to join you in looking at yourself, at Him and at your neighbors. Again, pay attention to those who come to mind and engage God in looking at your feelings and thoughts about them and consider how God might feel about them. If the same people come to mind, try to look a little deeper at your thoughts and feelings and see if God might be speaking to you about them or even through them.
When you are finished, you might jot down any significant experiences you had or decisions that you made.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25ff)

Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing:

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