<<fellow citizens>>

Our neighbour is anyone of any race or social background who we see in need along the pathway of life. This is the focus of the parable of the Good Samaritan which Jesus told (Lk 10:27-37).  We are to respond in love to the needs of others, doing for them what we would that they do for us if the roles were reversed (Mt 7:12). However, we should not do for them what is their responsibility and what they are capable of doing. Nor should we act in an inappropriate way, but with integrity and a pure motive – that God be glorified. While assisting them on the path to wholeness may require a short-term intense input the emphasis should be to enable them to become more capable and independent. There are community and social services that can provide much of any ongoing support, however the love and interaction from a friend works wonders to bring the human personal touch.

Is my lifestyle directed towards helping others to fulfill their potential through lifelong encouraging interest in them (along with God through you) being involved or do I just look after my own interests? The Bible instructs us to be outward focused, while also warning against crowding our neighbour, as we all need personal space (Prov 25:17; Phil 2:4).

Jesus stated the greatest commandment is to love God, the next is to love our
neighbour as ourselves (Lev 19:18; Deut 6:5; Mt 22:37-39). He had summarised the Ten Commandments where the first four relate to God and the remaining six deal with our relationship with other humans (Ex 20:3-17). The underlying theme is love which does no

A neighbour is anyone I can and should minister Christ to

harm to one’s neighbour, is impartial and bears the burdens of others and so fulfills the law of Christ – the law of love (Lev 19:13-17; Rom 13:10; Gal 6:2). Love means living in peace and harmony, having right relationships and genuine goodwill towards others rather than conflict and discord (Rom 12:16,18; Gal 5:15; Eph 4:25). It is not trying to ‘correct’ another’s fault while overlooking one’s own (Mt 7:3-5). Jesus Himself sets the standard, “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).

What impression of God do our unsaved neighbours get by observing our lives; do our lights shine brightly (Mt 5:13-16)? Be more concerned with fulfilling your responsibilities to others than trying to ensure your rights are met. Why not endeavour to be the best Christian neighbour there is – then they will recognise we have been with Jesus too (Act4:13). Friendship evangelism is very effective in winning our fellow citizens to Christ.

See also: community, golden rule, goodwill, handout/hand-up, love, needy, others, outward focused, relate, relationships, responsible/responsibilities.