“‘Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?’ And he said, ‘The one who showed mercy toward him.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do the same’” (Luke 10:36-37).
Jesus’ telling of the Parable of the Good Samaritan emerged from a question posed by a lawyer seeking to qualify the definition of “neighbor.” The lawyer’s evaluative response, and Jesus’ injunction, indicates that the initial question was misguided. In fact, there is no such thing as a non-neighbor. Instead of quibbling and “splitting hairs” over such matters, the charge and challenge to each of us is to be neighborly. Therein lies the right answer.