To live like Jesus means to show the same love He demonstrated. He illustrated this kind of love through the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), which He told in dialogue with a lawyer. The lawyer summarized our duty to God and fellow human beings:
(Luke 10:27, NKJV). The lawyer knew His Bible well (he quoted by heart Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18), but he must have felt guilty for not demonstrating love to his neighbor. In an attempt to justify himself, he asked Jesus:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and
your neighbor as yourself
Who is my neighbor? (Luke 10:29, NKJV).
How did Jesus explain who is our neighbor? What implications does the parable of the good Samaritan have for us? See Luke 10:30-37. How is the commandment to
love your neighbor as yourself related to the golden rule? Matt. 7:12.
To the question:
who is my neighbor? Jesus answered, basically, that our neighbor is every person who needs our help. Thus, instead of asking:
what can my neighbor do for me? we should ask:
what can I do for my neighbor?
Jesus went far beyond the usual negative rendering of this rule at that time:
do not do to others what you yourself dislike. By presenting it in a positive way, He addressed not only what we need to avoid but especially what we have to do. We need especially to remember that this principle does not tell us to treat others as they treat us. After all, it’s easy to be kind to those who are kind to us or nasty to those who are nasty to us; most people can do that. Instead, our love toward our neighbor should always be independent of the way our neighbor treats us.
Think of someone who has treated you in a bad way. How have you treated them in return? What does Christ’s example, and how He treated those who mistreated Him, teach you about how you could better relate to those who don’t treat you kindly?