Like a Good Neighbor
By: Naomi Jackson
The Jericho Times might have rightfully coined the term “bystander effect” 2000 years ago. For the most part, the storyline was nothing unusual: traveler robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. But when the religious elite coaxed a lawyer to question Jesus about inheriting eternal life, they did not expect to be implicated.
The lawyer knew to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27), but there lingered a question as to who should be considered a neighbor. However, Jesus would not be fooled. He demonstrated the heartless hypocrisies of the day through the story of the good Samaritan.
We all love a wholesome, tear-jerking, good Samaritan story, don’t we? Unless, of course, we happen to be like the priest or the Levite who “passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:32).
“Because the Lord’s professed servants are not in co-operation with Him, the love of God, which should flow forth from them, is in great degree cut off from their fellow men. And a large revenue of praise and thanksgiving from human hearts and human lips is prevented from flowing back to God. He is robbed of the glory due to His holy name. He is robbed of the souls for whom Christ died, souls whom He longs to bring into His kingdom to dwell in His presence through endless ages” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 383).
We who remain pious bystanders might easily be mistaken for robbers in a lineup. Our unwillingness to help those in need tends to the same end.
But let’s face it; we all travel in a spiritually dangerous world. We’ve all been robbed of our eternal inheritance, beaten, and left for dead “in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1). People may stop to survey the sight, and perhaps give us a nudge to ensure we are still breathing. But only one Man—Jesus—had the heart to stop and bind our mortal wounds.
His ministry is the ultimate guide for being a good neighbor. And He says to us, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).
Serving Our Neighbors
By: Fanny Garcia
When Carlos, our 30-year-old neighbor, decided to participate in our health program at La Gracia Hogar y Salud, he came with a heavy load. A schizophrenic and addicted to tobacco, he also wrestled with the reality that his mother, Angelica, would soon succumb to terminal cancer.
This was not Carlos’ first encounter with our family-run lifestyle center in Chile. He and Angelica had actively participated in small group meetings hosted by our ministry. However, on this occasion, he was accompanied by his father, Humberto.
Humberto, who had been divorced from Angelica since Carlos was a child, was concerned that observing his mother slowly die had caused Carlos’ condition to worsen. Humberto was hopeful he could begin a new life in Mexico with Carlos after the health program.
While Humberto made the necessary preparations for the move, Carlos spent one month at La Gracia receiving hydrotherapy treatments, enjoying a vegetarian diet, and participating in Bible classes. Though normally shy and withdrawn, he began memorizing Scripture and spiritual songs. His family was surprised to see him strong and at peace at his mother’s funeral. In paying his respects to her, he took a moment to praise God for his new life free of tobacco.
Our neighbor has finally moved to Mexico. He and his father happily follow the exercise, breathing, and morning prayer routines they learned at La Gracia, and Carlos continues to live tobacco-free. He is receiving a new treatment for schizophrenia that has allowed him to reduce his medication.
Undoubtedly, Jesus was with Carlos throughout this difficult process, and our family was grateful to stand by his side, as well. We rejoice in the opportunity God gives us to see lives transformed, and count it a privilege to serve our neighbors for His honor and glory.Fanny Garcia runs La Gracia Hogar y Salud with her husband, Rodrigo Vera, in Chile.
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