He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.
Luke 10:37, ESV
This is how Jesus closes his discussion with a lawyer, and the words are meant to resonate with us all as we think about the lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” It is easy to divide into groups and justify bad feelings about different groups. This is not the will or the way of God. God doesn’t differentiate between the various nationalities or ethnicities, but a person’s heart and soul are vital. For Him, there are two groups only – those who believe and trust in Him and those who do not. In our faith, we are to have mercy on anyone before us. They are our neighbors. God includes those that don’t believe or trust in Him as our neighbors just as much as fellow followers of Christ. We are to pray for them and, like the Samaritan, help them when we see them in need. Jesus didn’t give us an out; He made it more difficult when He called us to pray for our enemies. This is also supported by the parable that leads us to this verse. When our Lord says, “Go and do likewise.” He is giving us a command to be a people of mercy. This is difficult. It is hard to like someone that is harming you or your family. It is hard to pray for someone that is disparaging your name. Mercy is not natural for us. In Christ is the only place where we may find it and have it placed in our hearts. Only through the Holy Spirit can we find the words and strength to pray for a person as they are harming us. The worldly heart’s desire is vengeance, but in Christ, the heart is to seek mercy. It is only through Him that we can find it.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.