Be a Good Neighbor

KEY VERSE: “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” —Proverbs 3:27

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 3:27-35; 14:21

THE CONTEXT OF Proverbs 3:27-29 deals with the relationship we have with our neighbors. We read, “Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.”

As a rule we have little control over who will live next to us, or nearby. Such are called neighbors. There are times when we have good neighbors, and other times when we have bad neighbors. We, however, should strive to be good neighbors always. Throughout the Book of Proverbs we are admonished to be honest, helpful, and loving in our dealings with our neighbors so that they feel secure living next to us. There are those in the world who are violent, proud, perverse, and outright wicked, but never should we use their methods in our dealings with others.

Jesus was asked by a scribe, “Which is the first commandment of all?” (Mark 12:28) The answer Jesus gave was based on the text Deuteronomy 6:4. He said, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”—Mark 12:29-31

This question as asked by a lawyer (a scribe) has variations in the three Gospels where it is found. In Luke 10:25-29 a lawyer asked Jesus, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded, “What is written in the Law? How readest thou?” It was the scribe that answered, using the same words Jesus gave in answering which commandment was the greatest in Mark 12:30,31 and Matthew 22:37-40.

The scribe received our Lord’s approval in giving a correct answer, and so Jesus said, “This do, and thou shalt live.” (Luke 10:28) This prompted him to ask Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?” In answer Jesus gave an illustration which told of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, who was set upon by thieves. These took his raiment, wounded him and left him for dead. A priest went by, saw the man, and went to the other side of the road. Likewise a Levite did the same thing. A Samaritan who also came upon the scene, cared for this man’s wounds, took him to an inn for recovery and paid for his stay at the inn. When Jesus asked the lawyer which of these three was neighbor to the man set upon by thieves, he answered, “He that shewed mercy on him,” causing Jesus to say, “Go, and do thou likewise.”—Luke 10:37

Let us heed our Lord in this exhortaton and be good neighbors to all whom we meet, because we are to do good unto all men as we have opportunity. (Gal. 6:10) The Samaritan had mercy, and attended to the needs of this victim of a crime. All mankind are our neighbors, in the Lord’s broad definition of this word, and all must and will learn to love one another. By doing so they will fulfill the royal law of God, which is: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”—James 2:8

Dawn Bible Students Association
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