We have started a new semester of Sunday night programming with our kids, and we are looking at the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 and discussing the question, “Who is my neighbor?” This first Sunday night we talked about what it meant to be a good neighbor at school, and in the months to come we will talk about being a good neighbor in our families, community, and church. When I started writing the curriculum for this series, I knew that the straightforward answer I would receive is that our neighbors are those who live close to us. And that’s not wrong.
But I what I want our kids to see is the deep truth about what it means to be a neighbor … a good neighbor. This is why we are using Luke 10 for our base scripture, because we learn from the passage that the person who is the neighbor to the man beaten and left on the side of the road is the one who shows mercy.
The reality is that the man didn’t have to stop. He wasn’t required to. He could have been too busy. He could have been afraid of what he saw or thought it was a trap. He could have come up with dozens of reasons not to stop, which was apparently what the priest and the Levite did. But he did stop. He did show mercy, kindness, and compassion. He is the model of a good neighbor.
So, as the kids left the Bible station, I challenged them to have a new mantra or motto to say to themselves every day as they’re heading into school: “I am a good neighbor.”
Perhaps we all need to have this mantra that we say to ourselves every day as we head into work, to the grocery store, to pick up our kids from school, spending time with our families, and all of the other daily tasks. “I am a good neighbor. I will be the neighbor that shows mercy, who helps when possible, who shows the love of Christ to everyone I meet. I will be the neighbor who includes instead of excludes. I will be the neighbor who invites others to the table. I will be the neighbor who listens to others. I will be the neighbor who stops. I will be a good neighbor.”
If you are a parent, I encourage you to have your kids say this mantra each day as they head into school. Say it with them. Let them know it’s also your goal to be a good neighbor.
So, today and everyday, I will remind myself that I am a good neighbor.