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Who Is My Neighbor?

Weekly Devotionals

Who Is My Neighbor?

A while back, I was in the subway around 11pm.  It’s very typical that you see many people drunk coming home from office dinners that almost always include soju (Korean hard liquor).  About 15 feet away I noticed a commotion within the crowded subway car.  A young lady had thrown up. She was holding the remnant of her throw-up in her hands with some on her hair, and she made her way out of the car.  I looked over to where she was and saw throw-up on the ground.  Not only that, throw up on a man’s briefcase and another man’s suit jacket.  My initial thought when I saw the young lady was, “She’s drunk.  If you can’t handle it, don’t drink.”  But as I thought about it, it really isn’t that simple.  If she refuses to drink she most likely can’t get along with her co-workers nor get a promotion in the future.  She’ll lose her job and income, both of which are hard to come by.  It’s often like that here.  But then when I saw her, she didn’t look drunk.  So maybe she was sick???  Well, people around the 2 stained men were handing them tissues and wet naps to help them clean.  I didn’t really have anything to offer.  And naturally, everyone moved away from the throw-up on the ground that was now covered with napkins and some of the wipes that the 2 stained men threw away.  Keep in mind, this is a moving subway and we’re all stuck in there.  Since I’m 15 feet away, I don’t really smell it.  I just get back on my phone reading stuff.  Then I notice a couple of college students looking toward the throw up and commenting in Korean.  What could be so interesting?  I look.  And a young man was squatting down, pulling together all the napkins, wiping all the throw-up.  Immediately I could only think of Luke 10:25-37:

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Here lies the hopeful future of Korea, in a true man like this.  What possesses someone to do this?  Who’s my neighbor (v. 29)?  Am I being a “neighbor”(v.36)?  Lord have mercy on me (v. 37).  Jesus said, “Do this and you will live” (v. 28) and “Go and do likewise” (v. 37).

I felt like such a louse.

How can you be a neighbor today?  What will it require of you?