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by Linda Veath

… Love your neighbor as yourself. … Leviticus 19:18 NIV

Love does no harm to its neighbor. … Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 13:10; 15:2 NIV


My friend watched as another family moved into the house next door. That made two families sharing the home. It was obvious that they were “down and out.” What kind of neighbors would they be?

A couple of days later, my friend was working outside and the little boy, who had just moved in with his parents, came to see her. He asked,”Will you be my neighbor?”

The question affected her just as it did me when she shared it. Although worded differently, it’s essentially the same question the expert in the law asked Jesus. “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

Did you know that a dictionary defines neighboras “anyone who has a need that we are in a position to meet.” Before we can be in a position to meet their need, we have to know our neighbors. I wonder how many of us do.

How many people in our world, like the little boy, are crying out for someone to be their neighbor? Those who, like the man in Jesus’ parable, are battered by the world. Lost jobs. Broken homes. Destroyed marriages. Addiction. Abortion. Loneliness. Fear. How often do we turn our backs on those who are crying out in need?

May God forgive us. Myself included. May we hear those who are crying for us to be their neighbor — and respond with God’s love.