Who’s your neighbor? Good Samaritan story
I have a belief. Maybe it’s too strong of an opinion, but I'm going to come right out and say it. I believe that we’ve all felt hatred for someone. I believe that in our imperfection as humans, we've all felt rage. And, unfortunately, it's caused lots of regret.
Let's get fancy for a second.
Our brains are fed data that flows in from the world around us that then passes through the amygdala which is where our brains make the decision to push the data to the limbic or cortex area of the brain. The cortex area is where our logic lives, but the limbic area is where our emotions are processed. Unfortunately when our emotions are triggered at a high level, the cortex area is pretty much squashed by the limbic area. And then, it all goes downhill.
Anger. Hatred. Yelling. Revenge. Pain. Crying. Pain. All of the emotions flood in and take over.
Have you ever felt that? My guess is yes.
We all know the moment. It’s co-parenting after the divorce you didn’t see coming. It’s the moment you have to high-five the team that beat you. The apology that you don’t want to give to the person who actually hurt you first. The argument that turned personal and degrading. The rejection you felt was based out of racism. It's watching your attacker go free. It’s the bottle of water you pour into the mouth of the enemy that destroyed your home and your family.
The moment of deeply rooted resentment, anger and rage. Bitterness so thick you can taste it.
And yet, in the middle of the darkest parts of your heart, there's still your will to choose to love. To choose peace over war, grace over revenge, love over hate. It’s the power, the will, the fortitude it takes to make what seems like an impossible choice; the choice to love that neighbor anyway.
It's after your emotions have gone haywire, your emotions defuses and the logical area of your brain overrides the emotional area and for a moment you remember; humanity. You remember that hatred breeds more hatred and war breeds more war and the only way to stop the cycle is to love. Love despite hate. Love in the face of rage. Love instead of revenge. Loving your neighbor, no matter who they are, where they come from and...despite what difference stands between the two of you.
It's challenging, truly it is. But, for our kids, our world, for all of humanity, we have to do it.
Jesus gave us an incredible example of this. The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. An expert of the law asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Simply put, love God and love your neighbor, Jesus confirms. But, the curious expert asks Jesus, “Who exactly is my neighbor?” Jesus goes on to tell a story of a man who was robbed and left on the side of the street. People that we expect to help him like; a priest and a levite walked right by him. Avoiding the opportunity to lean into the pain with him and love. Well, A Samaritan, someone we would not expect to help him, did. Not only did he nurse his wounds, he poured oil and wine (expensive things in those days) on him. He didn’t stop there. He took him to an inn, made sure he had a place to stay and opened a tab for him to get whatever he needed and wanted. That, Jesus explained, is a good neighbor. That is how you love your neighbor, well.
Who are you loving in that way? Who are you leaning into despite difference? Who are you getting your heart ready to love? We believe that a good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart. That out of the heart is where your goodness flows.
So, will you join us? Will you continue to stand with us? Will you begin to ready your heart for opportunities to love your neighbor?
We hope you will. We most definitely will.
Toni is a host, communicator and consultant from Houston, arc. And, in this digital age of anxiety, she is teaching people all over the country that you can be young and a boss, and you can be broken and worthy. She doesn’t want you to just face your demons, she wants you to quash the illusion of your brokenness so you can live the most colorful life possible.Connect with Toni to learn more.