Without a doubt, Jesus’ most famous parable is The Good Samaritan. Just a simple search on Google will yield over 40 million results.
The Parable begins with Jesus being challenged on inheriting eternal life with the question of who my neighbor is, leading Jesus to tell this remarkable story. Love for God and neighbor are the central theme of this theologically, socially, and politically charged story.
However, when you read passages like the Good Samaritan juxtaposed to passages like Matthew 25’s Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, in which one of the few times the afterlife is depicted in Jesus’ teachings, it appears as if the way we did or did not love our neighbor determines whether we enter into eternal glory or damnation.
It begs the question, just how serious is God on us loving our neighbors?
“Our neighbors, the people around us, aren’t puzzles for us to figure out; they are people with evolving stories, experiences, quirks, and flaws. We won’t perfectly understand anyone ever, but that’s not the goal. Relationship is the goal, and that happens in the seeking,” said David Docusen on the CBF Podcast Conversation.
Docusen is the author of “Neighborliness” and the cofounder of the Neighborliness Center. He is also the founding board member of founding board member of Freedom Communities – an organization that focuses on equitable access to education, employment, healthcare, and housing.
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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy