By Severin Christensen, Founder of Restoring Faith, Inc.
We have all been told to love our neighbor as ourselves. As Mark 12:31 states, it is one of the greatest commandments to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. We look around and say to ourselves, who is my neighbor that I am to love so dearly? Is it the person who lives right next to me? Is it the people I go to church with? Is it the man who I’ve seen sitting on the corner?
In the greek, "neighbor" translates to πλησίος (plesios), meaning “near” or “close to”. In regards to the Good Samaritan, he was there to help someone that was “near” to him. I feel we want to tell ourselves that our neighbor is Chris who lives to the left who we wave hi to when we take out the trash, or Patricia from church who we see greeting us at the front door. We have been taught that our “neighbor” is someone we know, or have seen frequently enough to feel safe to see or approach. This is quite contrary to how the Bible has shown us what a neighbor is, and that would be someone that is nearby and in need, someone that is within arm's length that we can impact, and in today’s technological world, an arms reach can be 3ft or 3,000mi. The Bible shows us time and time again that our neighbor and those who we should help are those that are near to us, and I for one know that it's training my brain to no longer see my neighbor as someone I know, but rather someone Jesus wants me to show love to.