Sunday Reflection: The Call to Be a Neighbor


Not just feeling pity for others but actually extending mercy requires courage.

If loved ones suffer, we want to relieve their burdens—to alleviate pain, meet needs, or right a wrong. But if helping family and close friends is sometimes complicated, taking action to assist strangers or people we don’t know well can be even trickier. However, the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) challenges us to do exactly that. 

Placing ourselves in the story, it’s possible that most of us would not have stopped, even on a safer road than the treacherous route from Jerusalem to Jericho. Yet we see the Samaritan man specifically and deliberately risk his own safety to meet the needs of someone he’s never met. Similarly, each of us has many opportunities to extend God’s mercy in the same way—but we’ll notice only if our eyes are focused on the other person rather than on ourselves. 

Think about it

  • We often ignore the needs of others because we think someone else will help or assume it’s not our problem. Social psychologists call this phenomenon diffusion of responsibility. What are some things we can do—as individuals and churches—to extend mercy? 
  • Is there anyone you know who demonstrates mercy in day-to-day life? What can you learn from his or her example?
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