You shall love your neighbor as yourself. —Mark 12:31
This past year, the Advent calendar our family used suggested, “Make a blanket fort today. Invite in an imaginary enemy. Circle each other… and then offer them snacks.” My daughters LOVED that idea. Upon first reading, the younger one was quiet for a moment, then laughed out loud. “I just imagined (the presidential candidate we didn’t vote for) in my blanket fort, and I asked if he wanted to share my Doritos.” That, my friends, is how a child teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
It’s easier to think of some people as my neighbors than others. I wouldn’t have put that candidate in the “enemy” category, but he certainly doesn’t come to mind as my neighbor either. When a man asked Jesus to define who is included under the heading of “neighbor,” Jesus answered with the story of the Good Samaritan. That answer widened the definition far beyond someone who lives by me, or thinks as I do, or even someone whom I know personally. That means that besides my daughter sharing Doritos with that particular candidate, Jesus asks me to extend the same goodwill to him.
FOR REFLECTION: Which “neighbors” (those whom you have met and those you may never meet) are easier for you to love and to extend goodwill toward, and which are harder to love? How might you metaphorically offer to share Doritos with someone in the latter category?