This was aquestion put to Jesus Christ by an Expert in Law in the Gospel of Luke – Luke 10:29-37, and Jesus replied with the parable of the Good Samaritan.
In the parable, the good Samaritan rendered invaluable help to a traveler who had been beaten, robbed, and left half dead along the road. First a priest and then a Levite came by, but both avoided the man.
Finally, a Samaritan came by. When he saw him (the traveler), he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, poured him oil and wine. He set him on his donkey, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
Having cited the above scenario, Jesus Christ asked his audience including the Law Expert “Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbour to him who fell among the robbers?”
To which the Lawyer answered, “He who showed mercy on him”.
Jesus Christ has enjoined us all; Christians, Neighbours, Nigerians, Americans, Asians, Non-believers, Human beings, to be merciful, treating all and everyone with love irrespective of our skin color, cultural or political background.
It is a very good advice.
It is left to us to ask ourselves this pertinent question “Who is my neighbour?”, as right thinking human beings not necessarily as Christians.
Is it the mentally challenged mother with three young children rummaging the streets for leftover food? Yes!
Is it the thousands of displaced children, women and men in war-torn Central African Republic? Yes!
Is it the cantankerous woman in flat 4b? Yes!
Is it the motherless babies in orphanages with no one to love them? Yes!
Is it the sick and bedridden, lacking adequate medical attention, and having little or no money to go for better medicare? Yes!
Is it, that Tweep with the annoying ways who likes to cuss? Yes!
Is it the thousands of graduates dying in the spirit from lack of jobs? Yes!
Or the prisoners in maximum security prisons filled with regret and remorse? Yes!
If, however, we say “no” to these questions, then we are doomed to a life of strife, selfishness, and unhappiness.
In Law, the rule that you are to love your neighbour, becomes you must not injure your neighbour – love your neighbour as yourself. As was rightly said by Lord Atkin, in the case of Donoghue v Stevenson , while enunciating the duty of care we owe each other as neighbours; “my rights ends where my neighbour’s rights begins.”
So when you pass the beggars in the street, encounter a pickpocket, drive recklessly in your posh German cars on sub-urban streets, jump zebra crossing, pilfer from the National coffers, aid in bribery and corruption; have one thing in mind, that these “faceless strangers” who are affected adversely by your actions, are your neighbours. And when you keep quiet and do nothing, you (not the Government) worsen their situations.
I urge us all, in our own little ways as right-thinking Human Beings, to make a difference in our community, in our world, no matter how minute.
That difference can change a person’s life.