Inviting My Enemies Over For Dinner 7.11.14

dignity serves

The past two weeks our guest speaker, Dan Crain, has reminded us through great personal stories and research, this idea of and the need to be a “good neighbor.” This is always good to be reminded of, especially for someone like me who thinks I already do it… only to find out I’m not as good as I thought I was at being a good neighbor.

Being a friendly neighbor to my neighbors is easy, mainly because I like them. But Jesus challenges this very notion of only liking people who are very similar to us through the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Being a good friend/neighbor only to people we like is no longer an option as a followers of Jesus.

By and large, this means we can no longer legitimately claim that we follow Jesus while hating/mistreating/ignoring our neighbors who are unlike us.

Dallas Willard, in his book Divine Conspiracy, cuts right to the heart of the Parable of the Good Samaritan by simply rephrasing the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Willard says, “We define who our neighbor is by our love. We make a neighbor of someone by caring for him or her. So we don’t first define a class of people who will be our neighbors and then select only them as the objects of our love— leaving the rest to lie where they fall. Jesus deftly rejects the question “Who is my neighbor?” and substitutes the only question really relevant here: “To whom will I be a neighbor?” And he knows that we can only answer this question case by case as we go through our days. In the morning we cannot yet know who our neighbor will be that day. The condition of our hearts will determine who along our path turns out to be our neighbor, and our faith in God will largely determine whom we have strength enough to make our neighbor.”

When someone asks me, “Do you believe in God, follow Jesus?” – I should probably change my canned answer. I might now tell the person asking the question, “Talk to my enemy, ask them whether I believe in God and follow Jesus.”

Or, as another author puts it, “One cannot claim to have knowledge of God if one does not exhibit a life of boundless love.”

Join me in inviting our enemies to dinner. To whom will you be a neighbor?

joe braun signature


Weekly Giving | 07/07/2014


Weekly Need $29,000.00

Posted in

Recent Articles