Loving isn't too difficult, right? Many of us are surrounded by kind, lovely people trying to do the right thing. Indeed, to "love ? your neighbor as yourself" seems like it should be easy enough. Treat people like you would like to be treated. Bring the new neighbors some baked goods (normal and gluten-free, just in case). Chat with the bank teller about his holiday weekend. Write an occasional card to your sister "just because." There were probably varieties of these acts of kindness in Jesus' day. Perhaps substituting figs for cookies. But "exchange pleasantries with the traveling cloth merchant" isn't the example Jesus gives.
"A man fell victim to robbers... they stripped him and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead." The righteous pass by the scene of the dying man. The hero of the story is the one on the margins of Jewish society, who perhaps would not have been welcomed, in other circumstances, by the man now in the ditch. His neighborly love causes him to halt his journey, to tend wounds, and to pay for the man's care out of his own savings. Are we interruptible? Are we attentive to the hurts of others? Are we generous with our money and possessions?
In the past few weeks, who has crossed your mind as someone in need of help? Perhaps it's an acquaintance suffering from cancer. Maybe you were invited to donate or volunteer to a local social cause, but it just won't stick in your mind (or schedule) to make it happen. The needs of people are many and varied. We can't help everyone, but God does place opportunities in our path for compassion and courageous love. This week, be "the one who treated him with mercy."