Let’s revisit what we are doing here. The New Testament presents an outrageous and politically naïve directive for Christ-followers: Love your neighbor as yourself. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, a man is “stripped of his clothes, beaten, and left for dead” (Luke 10:30b). No cultural uniform to reveal his ethnic, political, or religious background. Abandoned, no one can tell us what “box” he fits into. Half-dead, we can’t discern an accent, know his language, or tease out his pedigree.
Jesus describes this unmarked person as our “neighbor,” to whom we are obligated to show costly and extravagant love. We don’t have to like our “neighbor,” but we do have to love them—which means committed to God’s possibilities in their lives.
The intersection of faith and culture is a rough neighborhood. A worldwide pandemic. A warming planet. A war looming in Ukraine. Foreign and domestic terrorism. Crippling poverty and starvation. And more. Against this backdrop, we wake up each day to a world where “reality” is in quote marks. We confront deep divisions about racial history, Critical Race Theory, and “Wokeness.” Politics fiercely divide and polarize us over individual rights, immigration, abortion, gun laws, and now, vaccines. And all the while, superheated cultural battles rage over homosexuality, transgenderism, and the meaning of marriage and family.
Fragmented and worn-out, it takes everything we have just to understand the times, let alone live in them. How can we be difference-makers for Christ in this world? Amid the complexity, Jesus offers unblushing simplicity: “Make your home in me, and I will make My home in you.” Jesus tells us that we can do “nothing” of eternal value without his life infused within us.
What is it that keeps you from authentically loving your “neighbor”? Prayerfully ask God to show you your heart. What do you discover?