Your Neighbor is God Appointed
Justifying Ourselves – Part 1
Scripture Reading: Leviticus 19:15-18
Key Verse: Luke 10:29
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
As we continue our study of the Good Samaritan, we come to the first human tendency: justifying ourselves. This “expert” in the Law understood that his answer to Jesus about loving God and his neighbor put him in a dilemma. If he truly sought eternal life, he would have to change the way he had been treating the people around him. This leader in the religious affairs of Judaism would have to start noticing the many poor and hurting people around him. Jesus had just backed him into a corner; forcing him to admit his sins of omission.
What did this scribe do? Did he humble himself and change his ways? No, he did what so many people do: he tried to justify himself. The question he asked Jesus was full of fake bewilderment: “And who is my neighbor?” In other words, this scribe was hoping to escape any responsibility to help others by creating a situation of “who can know who a neighbor is?”
Let’s challenge ourselves with a tough question: Have we been justifying ourselves? Do we Americans come up with questions that seem to have no answer? For example, we’ve often heard people say: “I want to help; I just don’t know what to do!” Or, we say: “What can my little contribution do to help such a huge worldwide problem?” These questions can become ways to simply help us sleep at night. (Continued)
Father, search my heart and see if there are any offensive ways within me. Point out any areas that I am justifying poor behavior. In Jesus’ name, amen.