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Palo Verde Valley Blythe/Quartzsite Times | Blythe, California and Quartzsite, Arizona

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7/19/2012 5:00:00 PM
Inspiration Corner: Who's my neighbor?
with Barbara Steiner


BLYTHE - As a nation there are stories that have inspired us. They have bound us together. Many of these stories are no longer told or known yet they are very relevant today.

Who's my neighbor?

My nephew Leighton has been having a rough time dealing with pain, working to pay medical bills, and finishing a degree in engineering. After his recent motorcycle accident, I read this message on his Facebook wall: "Oh and just for the record the chick that hit me drove off, and everyone that saw the accident did too, 4th and South in Salt Lake City, busy time of the day and no witnesses. People suck."

Sad! Neither the person, who caused the accident, nor any witness helped him. He managed with his cell phone to call a friend, who called an ambulance.

Leighton's experience reminds me of a conversation Jesus had.

A guy asked him, "What do I do to have a life after death?"

Jesus replied, "What do the laws of Moses teach?"

The guy said, "They say I'm supposed to love God and love my neighbor as much as I love myself."

"Right."

"Yeah, but who's my neighbor?"

So Jesus told the man a story.

A traveler was going through a dangerous area, where thugs often robbed people. He was stopped and brutally beaten into unconsciousness. His clothes were stripped off, his money stolen, and he lay bloodied on the roadside.

A second traveler came along. To his horror directly in his path was the injured man. The traveler did not stop; he did not look curiously at the man. No! Without hesitation, he knew what he would do. Mind "his own business." He crossed the road and hurried away from the sight.

A third traveler came along. Across the street he saw the mangled body. Curiously he walked across the road and peered at the sight. How revolting the blood was! Quickly he returned to his side of the roadway and walked ahead rapidly.

Then a traveler, called Sam, came along. He obviously was of a different social class than the other men. When he saw the man sprawled in dirt and blood, he felt pity. He knelt beside the man, looking at him carefully. What could he do to help him?

From his first aid kit he took medicine and bandages, and began trying to relieve the wounded man's agony.

Then, he carefully took the man to a hotel in the next town. Meals were available, but no hospital or doctor. So Sam cleaned and fed the man. He watched him carefully through the night.

In the morning Sam asked the hotel manager, "Would you care for this man I brought in? Please feed him and let him stay here until he can travel to wherever he needs to go. Here, I wish to give you enough money to cover your expenses for helping him. If more money is necessary, I'll pay you when I return."

The two men, who had walked past the beaten man unwilling to help him, were his people - of his social class. Sam was not one of them, but he knew the injured man's class. He had grown up knowing that they despised his people, called them "dogs." Yet, he, Sam-the-outsider, felt pity and showed compassion.

After telling this story Jesus asked, "Of the three men which one acted as a neighbor to the man attacked by hoodlums?"

The reply was, "The man who showed mercy."

And Jesus said, "Have the same attitude."

This story has been famous for centuries. Its influence helped to shape American laws that protect people who help an injured stranger. It reminds me of the questions: How do I love my neighbor and who is my neighbor?" Thank you for the privilege of sharing "Who's my neighbor?" with you.

Barbara Steiner presents "Inspiration Corner" and will share stories of the past that have a meaning today. The inspirational stories are told weekly on KJMB radio station.










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