Love thy neighbour. 

Luke 10:25-37

“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 

And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbour as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” 

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance, a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 

“So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.

’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

This blog post is important for us Christian cowboys out there because we have to have a reverence for God and for His commandments.

As men of God and men of honour, we have to obey the Ultimate example that was set of what a man should be. Jesus. 

For my readers that aren’t Christian, this is also applicable to you, because as a man, caring for others and the service of others is a part of masculinity. The story of the Good Samaritan is a good example of how we should care for people, regardless of your religion. Showing compassion and loving others is a part of being a good man.

I was recently challenged with this command that Jesus gave, loving someone I don’t know. It’s not that I don’t love people. I really do. People energize me and my love for people is why I do this. It was the type of love that my brain was struggling with. When I love, I love big. I love my friends, family, and girlfriend, so why must I love someone I’ve never met before? 

I care and feel for them but why love? 

That was my question. 

The world is a dark place and after some introspection, I found that my heart had become hard. Especially to people who do harm to or mislead others. For example the radicals in the LGBTQ community. I had unknowingly started harbouring anger in my heart towards them because of what they do, instead of just hating the things that they do. 

That’s the thing, not hating people for their sins.

The whole point of Christianity is doing everything in love, and loving my fellow man is not that I have to feel as intensely for this stranger as I do for my girlfriend, but just to care for them, have compassion and understand that this person might be struggling and lost.

It’s a different kind of love, the love for your neighbour. It’s not a personal love like you have for romantic partners, family or friends, but it can become that when you start building a relationship with that person.

Who is my neighbour?

Well, it’s everyone. Your neighbour is anyone you encounter in your day-to-day life, at work on the subway, or wherever you are. It’s the security guard at your local grocer, the cab driver, and the guy behind the counter. This principle also extends beyond our immediate environment to also include the people we may only know vaguely or in some abstract sense, such as those of other demographics, cultures or countries whom we may never even interact with.

Just acknowledging the people that usually get ignored can brighten up their whole day.

This is the beginning of loving people and it’s really easy. A kind word or a compliment goes further than we think. This is something I like to do, just talking to people and showing a bit of interest. 

Let me tell you of an encounter I had with an elderly gentleman. 

I was shopping at my local grocer and I saw this elderly man standing further down the aisle. My heart skipped a beat because he looked exactly like Sir Ian McKellen (the actor who played Gandalf in Lord of the Rings) and the resemblance was uncanny. When I came to my senses and asked myself “What would one of the best actors in fantasy possibly be doing here?”, I decided to walk up to him and tell him what had just gone through my mind when I saw him.

I started by telling him he looked like Gandalf and he said I look like a viking with my beard and undercut. Ultimately, we had a lovely conversation. 

It was just a really pleasant exchange.

After the conversation, we said our goodbyes and then he said something that stunned me a little. He said, “Thank you for the lovely conversation, no one usually notices me.” 

I got home I sat and thought about what had happened. How can this lovely old man go unnoticed? 

My brain started running and I started thinking things like “Where is his family?”, “Why is he so lonely” and “Where are his friends?”. I felt sorry for the guy. I mean he probably has a family, they might just be far away or his wife might have passed away and now he felt lonely. 

You never really know what going on in someone’s life.

This encounter just shows that even a small thing like telling someone that they look like a famous actor can make them feel noticed and that someone cares.

How can I practically do this?

It’s not always as straightforward, but it’s simple: Just help. 

If you are aware of someone’s struggle, go and see what you can do. Now, you have to take every situation by its merits. Some people will need money for example and some will just need you to listen. Sometimes we just need encouragement and validation, not problem-solvers. 

Just be prepared and willing to set good boundaries as you help others, so that you don’t get misused and burnt out. 

You know that feeling of helplessness you get when you see or hear that young girls and women are being trafficked as sex slaves and there’s nothing you can do about it, nothing you can do to stop the injustice? That’s caring. We are men, injustice is supposed to bother us. 

If you really love your neighbour, you have to take action so that the people you love stay safe, e.g you educate your family and friends on personal safety and security. You can train your kids in anti-kidnapping tactics, rape-escape and situational awareness (this is an extreme example but you get my point).

The point is to do what you can with what you have. 

In the book, SAS Urban Survival Handbook, the key principle stressed is to increase one’s knowledge and understanding and then couple it with positive action. 

To further this point: Jim Kwik said in his book, Limitless, that knowledge in of itself is not powerful. Knowledge has the potential to be powerful, once coupled with a performative action. Knowledge x Action = Power

This means it is essential to increase your knowledge on how to help people and yourself…AND THEN DO SOMETHING WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE!

As an example, a friend of mine runs marathons to raise awareness for human trafficking. He is doing what he can with what he has. As he had once said, “If you know of the evil around you and still choose to do nothing, you’re about as bad as the people doing the evil.”

“Every single time you help somebody stand up you are helping humanity rise.”

Why this is hard?

We as people have our groups. We choose whom we love and spend time with while most others drift by. 

Loving your neighbour isn’t easy. Most of the time it’s inconvenient, especially when you have to go out of your way. And let’s be frank, many times we simply don’t want to. 

This is completely normal. 

You’ve probably heard someone say that when you’re having a bad day, helping someone else will make your day better. 

This is 100% true.

When you can change someone else’s mood and they feel there is hope, I guarantee that you will feel hopeful too. Or crack a joke to the person behind the counter and see their face light up. It’s an incredible feeling. 

Once you’ve done that you’ll want to do it again.

Another thing that makes it hard, is the risk of rejection. We never know if someone is going to accept our help, and that’s ok. If they don’t want it, someone else will. Don’t get discouraged, there will always be more people to help. 

In my personal experience, there is always a scammer somewhere. 

A homeless person that looks in desperate need of help, they have a kid with them and guilt you into giving them money. I have fallen for this many times. They profess to be struggling and willing to do anything, but when you don’t give them anything or give them something they don’t want, they curse you and run off shouting obscenities into the wind.

If you want to help someone like that like, rather buy them food. Don’t give them money, because the sad truth is that they’re probably addicted to drugs. 

So when helping someone, use discernment and listen to your gut (the Holy Spirit). Most of the time you’ll get it right, sometimes maybe not. I say this because sometimes helping that person right now will not have the positive impact you think it will have. 

Things happen for a reason and we learn from our mistakes. On occasion, we have to face the music alone to grow and get stronger but if someone interrupts that process it can cause hurt for both parties. Let me paint the picture for you: A guy is struggling financially and God is challenging him to trust Him for financial provision. If you, with all good intent, help him financially without discernment from the Holy Spirit, you will stagnate his growth.

Some acts of kindness at the wrong time can do more harm than good.

Different things are required for each situation. Like I said before it’s important to handle each situation by its merits.

To conclude gentlemen.

Is it hard? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Most definitely ALWAYS.

Let’s do what we can with what we have, and do it in love. 

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