What's your next step with Jesus

Who is my neighbor

Anyone who tries to obey the commandment to love one's neighbor will find that love is not just a feeling, but that it can be practiced in small steps. At the beginning there is the question: Who is my neighbor?

"Next, please," comes the sound of the loudspeaker, and the door to the doctor's room opens. Those waiting closely watch who comes next. The small example shows: the next one is not the second next. Unless there is an emergency. This is also what the commandment to love one's neighbor means. Jesus demands: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Lk. 10:27).

What immediately makes sense in the small example of the waiting room is often not that easy in real life. The emergencies are increasing. They lie in their sleeping bags in the pedestrian zone or sit in the S-Bahn with their refugee luggage. They complain as a call for donations in their own mailbox or watch the news with hungry eyes. The emergencies come closer to us or are brought closer to us so that they can become our neighbors. There are too many for the individual. How should I choose?

Jesus tells the example of the victim who lies injured on the roadside: two see him lying and walk past. The third also sees him and takes care of him until he is well again. A stranger of all people. This story answers the question of who my neighbor is:

1. I meet him or her. You can also do this virtually today.
2. I see the need. Or notice that someone is simulating here.
3. I choose. Strangeness is not an argument here.

In practical life, however, charity does not work with this clarity and order. Love cannot be prescribed, but it can be tried out with one step towards the other person. The same applies here: trying is more important than studying and testing your own heart.

The first steps can look like this: I give something to the first beggar. I address the refugees in the S-Bahn in a friendly manner. I check the donation letter and I take care of the topic in the daily news. The second steps go like this: Maybe I always give something to the same beggar. I accompany the refugees. And instead of the long-distance donation, I give my money to the project around the corner and visit it. Then I became next to these people.

Pastor Hans Genthe