The parable of the Good Samaritan might better be titled the parable of the unloving Jews. For that’s what is highlighted as three wannabe “righteous” Jews come into proximity with a man who needs help, and they avoid him.
But realise, had they not been travelling that road that day, or even at that time, they would not be condemned for their failure to act. That is, it was their proximity to this fallen man that brought upon them the opportunity to do good, to love. And in the same way, it was their proximity to this man that brought upon them the sin of failing to do as a loving neighbour ought.
Love thy neighbour, at the very least, means love the one you’re with.
I think this has massive implications for church families and growth groups. These are people you are with – whether you choose to be with them or you were placed with them, they are your neighbours, they are the ones you are with – both in proximity and in regularity.
This doesn’t mean we ignore loving at a distance, there’s heaps in the bible to show Christians do that, but we mustn’t fall into the trap of the Pharisees who ignored their real and present opportunities to love.
Who has God put in your path to love?