Won't You Be My Neighbor?
25Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27He answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” 29But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
In 1997, Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood received the lifetime achievement award at the Daytime Emmy’s.
With an audience filled with the most handsome soap stars and beautiful women with decadent gowns and sparkly make-up, he walked onto the stage and made a small bow.
Then he said this, “All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Ten seconds of silence." And then he lifted his wrist, looked at the audience, looked at his watch, and said, 'I'll watch the time.” Slight laughter trickled through the crowd until they realized that he was serious. And he expected them to do what he asked… so they did. They took 10 seconds to remember those who have been kind to them, those who gave them a break, those who helped them become who were that day.
One second, two seconds…. Five seconds, nine seconds, ten seconds. Members of the audience at that point were clenching their jaw to hold back tears and the mascara painted eyes were glittering like rain on a chandelier.
Each of us can name people who helped us become who we are. There are some who gave us a break, who have offered us kindness, mercy, a helping hand. Would you, along with me, take ten seconds to think of people who have helped you become who you are today? Seriously... ten seconds.
Someone once invited me to enter the story of the Good Samaritan in the place of the half-dead person lying by the road. Imagine hearing the story as one who has received life saving help from a stranger, from someone who you would never have imagined would have helped you. Imagine hearing the story as one who needs a neighbor as opposed to trying to figure out who our neighbors are or aren't.
Necessity is the father or mother of invention. Perhaps when we realize that we need a neighbor, we will understand how better to be one.
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