Who’s my neighbor? Creating neighborhood love.
We’ve all got this group of friends who get together over the weekend to hit the outdoors. A few year’s ago, we got together with some friends and hit the bicycle trail. It was a relatively flat trail that we’d frequented before. We’d been following the green dots on the trees to stay on the trail. However, we somehow still managed to deviate from the green dot trail to the red dot trail. What was a flat trail was now filled with all sorts of obstacles. Clearly, this trail was not designed with novice riders like ourselves in mind. Infact, it was intended for very experienced cyclists.
We needed to find our way back to the green dot trail but before instead, we found our selves at a bridge. This was no ordinary foot bridge but one that required expert bike maneuvering skills. So, one by one, we dismounted and walked our bikes to the other side of the bridge.
We all have this one friend who’s always adamant about pushing the envelope. Infact, this one friend decided he was going to ride down the dangerous bridge and even went on to request for a video of him attempting this dangerous stint. Before we could even decline his request and sermon the voice of reason back to him, he’d yell out in a loud, “Nimevunjika mkono!” (swahili for: “I just broke my arm!”).
Imagine the disbelief in our eyes! Seemed like he’d gone from requesting for video coverage and in the same breath, desperately writhing in pain. What a turn of events! We quickly ran up to find him lying in pain, a bloody arm dangling on his side.
We knew we needed to act fast, quickly applying pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding, while someone found a straight stick that we tied up on his arm for support as someone else quickly called for an ambulance to bring him to hospital. He went on to recover completely in record time.
Unfortunately, most bike-related injuries in Kenya, don’t always have a happy ending. In fact, on any given day in public hospitals, the Emergency Room (ER) beds are filled with motorcycle related injuries as ER staff are constantly puzzled at the lack of evidence that first aid was administered at the time of the injury. What typically follows these types of accidents is confrontation, which only acts to exacerbate the situtation
We had a choice to make that day. Were we going to waste precious time condoning my friend for poor judgement or were we going to jump into action to help him? Do we really want to spend precious time confronting? Especially when we may very well be someone’s best chance of survival? When failure to administer first aid could impede on an injury victim’s ability to experience a fast and complete recovery?
God must have known that we would struggle with knowing what to do when we came across a neighbor in need. The good news is that we are not the first people to struggle with this dilemma. The people in Jesus’ day struggled with this as well. In the story of the Good Samaritan, in response to an inquiry on the most important commandment (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27), Jesus went on explain who’s my neighbor.
The parable begins in Luke 10:30–37 with a Jewish man traveling down to Jericho when he’s attacked by bandits. The strip him of his clothes, beat him up, and leave him lying half dead beside the road. A priest comes along, sees the man lying there, crosses over to the other side and passes by. A Temple Assistant does the same. When a Samaritan comes along, he’s full of compassion, administers first aid and puts the man up in an inn to receive care.
Jesus goes on to ask who’s this man’s neighbor? Clearly, it’s the Samaritan, the one who extended mercy. We are then commanded to go and do likewise.
So next time we aren’t sure who’s our neighbor? Perhaps we can start with those around us in need. By showing love, compassion and care to those around us, we can create a culture of love and care in our neighborhoods. Maybe we can start with that lady a few houses down, who’s experiencing domestic dispute and in need of a listening ear?Or that rider that‘s been dangerously maneuvering through traffic and suddenly goes down? Or the child that’s choking in the cafeteria? We can stop and show love, care and compassion for those in need around us.
Imagine what would happen in our community and neighborhoods if we each took it upon ourselves to show care and compassion to those around us?
When we experience a need, it’s no time to confront, finger point, blame, ignore and walk over to the other side. It’s time to jump into action in loving care and compassion!