“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'”- Matthew 22:36-40
This is a topic I wanted to write on, but I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go. Then, I heard of the tragedy in Portland, Oregon a couple weeks ago, and I wanted to shine light on the lives of men who stood up for what was right.
For those of you who have not heard, there was a deranged individual who was calling two young women racial slurs, while speaking hatefully about people from different countries. (Portland Train Incident)
When the girls felt threatened, they moved away from the man. A couple men, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best, stepped in to calm him down, but also tell him he could not speak to women in such a hateful way. They stood up for their neighbor. They stood up to defend the defenseless.
Then, something unimaginable occurred, when Namkai-Meche and Best got into a verbal altercation with the suspect. Suddenly, the suspect pulled out a knife, stabbing both men in the neck. They both lost their life standing up for these young women.
You might see where I’m going with this. They stood up and spoke out against hatred and fear. They did it because they cared about their neighbor on the train. Two young ladies who had every right to be in their seats, but for some reason, this person felt he had the right to speak in such a way.
Taliesin and Ricky are heroes.
They did what many others wouldn’t do.
It made me think about our call as Christians from Jesus, “love your neighbor as you love yourself”. Jesus spoke these words to His disciples and it holds true for all those who follow Him today.
I believe, I love myself enough that I would not let someone speak to me in a hateful way. I love my family enough to know that I would defend them, at all costs, from danger. It is based off of love that I would risk my life to save and protect theirs.
With that thought, I have to ask myself if I am willing to go that far for my neighbor?
Am I willing to stand up for those who are being treated unjustly, at the risk of my own life, or is it limited?
According to the words of Christ, there should not be a limit. I don’t love myself with limits. I don’t love my family, let alone my children with limits. So, why should I love my neighbor any less?
The parable of “The Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37) demonstrated the risk involved in caring for our neighbor. The Samaritan stopped to care for a man who had been left for dead by robbers. The religious people didn’t stop, but this Samaritan found compassion in his heart to step off the road.
The Samaritan risked his own welfare to care for this poor man. He too could have been robbed or killed. Yet, he stayed and bandaged the wounds of the man, took him to an inn and paid for his lodging. That wash Jesus shared what it meant to love your neighbor.
When we love our neighbor, it involves risk, and in some cases, it might involve risking our life. We just need to know if we are willing to go that far to fulfill the second greatest commandment.
May we be willing to defend the defenseless, even if it means risking our lives. May we love our neighbor enough to step out of our safe place for their care.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: How can you be more active in loving your neighbor?