Who is your neighbour?

A nurse escorted a tired, anxious young man to the bed side of an elderly man. “Your son is here,” she whispered to the patient. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened. He was heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack and he dimly saw the young man standing outside the oxygen tent.
He reached out his hand and the young man tightly wrapped his fingers around it, squeezing a message of encouragement. The nurse brought a chair next to the bedside. All through the night the young man sat holding the old man’s hand, and offering gentle words of hope. The dying man said nothing as he held tightly to his son.

As dawn approached, the patient died. The young man placed on the bed the lifeless hand he had been holding, and then he went to notify the nurse. While the nurse did what was necessary, the young man waited. When she had finished her task, the nurse began to say words of sympathy to the young man. But he interrupted her. “Who was that man?” He asked. The startled nurse replied, “I thought he was your father.” “No, he was not my father,” he answered. “I never saw him before in my life.” “Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?” asked the nurse.

He replied, “I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, I knew how much he needed me…”

Jesus emphasized that true religion was love of God and love for one another. Jesus said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as you love yourself” (Matt 22:37-40)

The easiest thing is to Love God, the most difficult thing is to love others, especially when someone is hurting us. We sometimes get so caught-up with religious practices and exercises that we fail to understand the needs of those around us.  When a man came up to Jesus and asked him “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told him a parable of the Good Samaritan where three people passed by the wounded man on the wayside, one of them was a deeply ‘religious’ person but with no compassion. The third man, a Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews attends to the wounded man by cleaning his wounds and housing him in a hotel.  Jesus appreciated him because he had true love for God and true love for someone in need.

Our neighbor is not the one next door.  Our neighbor is one who is in need of our love, compassion and understanding. Who is your neighbour?

Courtesy: Deccan Herald