Who is my neighbour?
An article in the BBC News online about a dispute between Jimmy Page, founder of Led Zeppelin and Robbie Williams, contemporary singer, caught my interest. They were described as being ‘neighbours’. Page was objecting to work on Williams’ property. Williams was playing 80s and 90s music at a high volume to get back at him. I have no idea of the rights and wrongs of this dispute. They don’t matter for the purposes of this article. The use of the word ‘neighbour’ simply reminded me of some of Jesus’ words. Jesus confirmed that the two greatest commandments from God are to love Him totally and to love your ‘neighbour’ as yourself. When a Jewish man asked him who was his ‘neighbour’ he replied with the parable of the “Good Samaritan”. You can read the parable here in Luke 10:25-37 (NIV). To summarise, a man on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed and beaten and left for dead by the side of the road. A Jewish priest and later a Levite noted the man but passed by him without helping. Later a Samaritan saw the man. He stopped and helped very generously. This was unusual by the standards of the time because the Jews and the Samaritans didn’t get on. So Jesus’ message was that everyone is our ‘neighbour’ simply because they are a human being.
His other message in confirming both the commandments together implies that a love for God is a prerequisite for loving our neighbour. Without this who sets the standards that determine what love for our neighbour means? If we set them ourselves how will they be consistent? They won’t be. A world without a proper recognition of God logically will be a troubled world of inconsistency of behaviours between people. And that’s exactly what we see so much of in our societies. But God does have a plan to fix this sad situation. Read more here in an article about the Kingdom