A Good Neighbor
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
DO YOU know anyone who has a skin color different from yours? In some places the skin color of most people is black or brown. In other places almost everyone has white skin. They are born that way.
Does it make you better than someone else if you have a different skin color than he does? Should a person with black skin think that he is better than someone whose skin is white? Or should someone with white skin think he is better than a person whose skin is black? What do you think?
Some people think that the color of their skin makes them better than others. So they are not kind to people who have a different skin color. We should not be like that.
If we listen to the Great Teacher, Jesus Christ, we will be kind to everyone. It does not make any difference what nation a person may come from or what his skin color is. We ought to love people of all kinds. This is what Jesus taught. Let me tell you about it.
One day a Jew came to ask Jesus a hard question. This man thought he could ask a question that Jesus would not be able to answer. He said: ‘What must I do to live forever?’
This was an easy question for the Great Teacher. But instead of answering it himself, Jesus asked the man: ‘What does God’s law say we must do?’
The man answered: ‘The law of God says, “You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart, and you must love your neighbor as yourself.”’
Jesus said: ‘You answered right. Keep on doing this and you will get eternal life.’
But the man did not want to love everyone. So he tried to find an excuse. He asked Jesus: “Who really is my neighbor?” How would you have answered that? Who really is your neighbor?
This man may have wanted Jesus to say: ‘Your neighbors are your friends.’ But what about other people? Are they our neighbors too?
To answer the question, Jesus told a story. It was about a Jew and a Samaritan. This is how it went:
A man was going down the road from the city of Jerusalem to Jericho. This man was a Jew. As he was walking along, robbers grabbed him. They knocked him down, and took his money and his clothes. The robbers beat him up and left him beside the road half-dead.
A short time later a priest came along that road. He saw the man who was badly hurt. What did he do? What would you have done?
The priest just went over to the other side of the road. He did not even stop. He did not do anything at all to help the man.
Then another very religious man came down the road. He was a Levite, who served in the temple at Jerusalem. Would he stop to help? No. He did the very same thing as the priest. Was that the right thing to do?
Finally a Samaritan came along the road. He saw the Jew lying there badly hurt. Everyone knew that the Samaritans and the Jews did not like one another. So would this Samaritan leave the man without helping him? Would he say to himself: ‘Why should I help this Jew? He would not help me if I were hurt’? No one would expect a Samaritan to stop and help a Jew.
But the Samaritan looked at the man lying beside the road. He was moved with pity for him. He could not leave him and let him die.
So the Samaritan got off his animal. He went over to the man, and began caring for his wounds. He poured oil and wine upon them. This would help the wounds to heal. Then he bound up the wounds with a cloth.
The Samaritan gently lifted the hurt man up on his animal. Then they went slowly on down the road until they came to an inn, or a small hotel. Here the Samaritan got a place for the man to stay, and he took good care of him.
Now Jesus asked the man to whom he was talking: ‘Which one of these three men do you think was the good neighbor?’ How would you answer? Was it the priest, the Levite or the Samaritan?
The man answered: ‘The Samaritan who stopped and took care of the hurt man was the good neighbor.’
Jesus said: ‘You are right. So go your way and do the same yourself.’—Luke 10:25-37.
Wasn’t that a fine story? It makes clear who our neighbors are. Our neighbors are not only our close friends. Our neighbors are not only persons of our own country, or persons who have the same skin color as we do. Our neighbors are people of all kinds.
Jehovah God loves all kinds of people. And Jesus said that we should be like God. Jesus said: ‘Your Father who is in heaven makes his sun rise on bad people and good people. He makes the rain fall on righteous ones and those who are not righteous. You should be good toward all, just as the Father is.’—Matt. 5:44-48.
So if you see someone hurt, what will you do? What if the person is from a different country or has a skin color different from yours? He is still your neighbor. So you should help him. If you feel too small to help, then you can ask me to help. Or you can call a policeman, or a schoolteacher. That is being like the Samaritan man.
The Great Teacher wants us to be kind. He wants us to help others, no matter who they may be. That is why he told the story about the man who was a good neighbor.
“The desirable thing in earthling man is his loving-kindness.”—Prov. 19:22.