Who Is My Neighbor? Essay

2373 words - 10 pages

My interactions with Jim left me with a number of questions that I continue to struggle with to this day. What does hospitality look like for those who profess to be Christians? Should Christians be trying to work harder towards better relationships with the other and those who believe differently than us? Is pluralism a plausible concept? What is my role as a pastor in leading the congregation in a time of Joys and concerns? As a pastor, how do I respond to Jim’s claims when I feel so passionately about interfaith relations? Who is my neighbor? The main focus of this project will be the challenge that Christians face to be witnesses of their faith in an increasingly pluralistic world. To ...view middle of the document...

” The answer that Jesus gives the lawyer is an answer that was true then and is true when thinking about this situation with Jim.
In this story, Jesus talks about a man who has been beaten, stripped naked, and left for dead by a group of robbers. Two people, one a priest and one a rabbi, cross over to the other side of the road when they see the man who had been beaten. However, the Samaritan who passed by was moved with compassion and was hospitable towards the stranger. It is important to point out here that the trait that distinguishes the Samaritan from the two religious figures is not the fact that they are Jews and he is a Samaritan. What makes this Samaritan stand out is that in his compassion, he is moved to action.
Now, I know that Jim himself has not physically harmed any Muslim individuals. However, society as a whole has a very negative opinion and I daresay has even demonized and robbed Muslims of having normal and safe lives in the United States. In light of the bad reputation that Muslims have, Jim has developed hatred and fear of Muslims. Each time he speaks against them and says negative things about them, he crosses over to the other side of the road just as the priest and the rabbi did.
After Jesus tells the parable, he turns the lawyers question around on him and asks him which three of the men acted as a neighbor to the beaten man. Jesus’ question “presupposes the identification of “anyone” as a neighbor, then presses the point that such an identification opens wide the door of loving action. The lawyer answers the one who shows the stranger mercy or compassion. Jesus’ final direction to the lawyer, and in turn to us, is to do likewise; to be hospitable to the social outcast and to the “other.” I would argue that in the situation with Jim, being hospitable means trying to see those who we disagree with through the eyes of Jesus. John Calvin put it well when he said the following of what this parable teaches, “the greatest stranger is our neighbour, because God has bound all men together, for the purpose of assisting others.”
A second passage that must not be ignored when examining this situation is John 13:34-35 where Jesus tells us that we are to love one another just as he loved us. Even when Jesus encountered Pharisees and other teachers of the law with whom he disagreed, he still loved them. He might have tried to correct their ways and speak harsh truths to them, but he still loved them. When Jesus died on the cross, he petitioned God and asked for forgiveness of those who persecuted him. We are commanded to love just as Jesus loved and Jesus loved the people that society refused to love. Jesus loved those who were rejected and he loved those who stood against everything that he taught about. When Jim spoke of adherents of Islam as being “dirty Muslims, “ this does not reflect the love that Jesus showed. I completely understand that Jim and others might not agree with what Islam teaches, but...

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