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24. The Christian attitude to other people

The Master's instructions about everyday life. (Luke 10:25-37).

God has always wanted mankind to love both God and his neighbour. At least half of the Old Testament laws protect the rights of all the other people who live in my society. The absolute freedom of the individual is limited by the rights of others. I cannot be free to punch you on the nose without severely inhibiting your freedom to walk around unmolested! My country has laws that give me as much freedom as is possible while still preserving the right of your nose to live in peace!

If you are trying to live to please God you must love your neighbour. You

will show that you love God by loving your neighbour. In Luke 10:25-29 a

man asked Jesus to define ‘neighbour’ in an attempt to clarify the

command. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan in reply. The

parable clearly outlines our Lord’s intention for His followers in their

home communities.

See the need of those around you

It was as the Samaritan went about his everyday business that he

discovered this man’s awful predicament (v.33). When he was made aware

of the need he was confronted with a choice: avoid it or act to meet it.

It was not his concern how other people reacted. He was responsible

before God for his own response.

Stop to meet the needs you see

Presumably the Samaritan had things to attend to at the end of his

journey. It’s not likely he was just taking an idle stroll through hills

known to be infested with robbers. Whatever his purpose was he took

time out to determine the extent of the need and to decide on a

deliberate course of action.

Loving your neighbour clearly means being willing to get involved with him.

There is no short cut to this.

Show the love of Christ for the needy

The Samaritan paid the price of caring by using his own material goods

and money (vv. 34-35). He showed the proof of caring by overcoming all

thoughts of looking after himself and all social and racial barriers. His

care was not only a one-off deed either. He promised his continuing care

to both the needy man and to others who helped him in his task.

We have already seen that being a Christian affects our relationships

with those in our family and with whom we work. It should be evident to

non-Christians that we genuinely love them as human beings as well as

souls for whom Christ died.

Our attitude to others in the church is also encouraged to be specifically

Christian. Romans 12:1-21 encourages sober self-evaluation (v.3); sincere

service to Christ by using the gifts he gives us in the local body of Christ;

sharing with those in special need (v.13); seeking to maintain unity and

friendship at all times (v.18); and we are told that spiritual fervour is

stirred up by such service for the Lord (v.11).

A good text for every Christian who lives in the non-Christian world is:

‘Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of

doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He

visits us’ (1 Peter 2:12).

Christianity is a life to be lived among others who may or may not be

trying to live in a similar way.

Discussion guide for ‘the Christian Attitude to Other People’

Bible reading Luke 10:25-37

1. Explain why there can be no such thing as complete freedom for

any individual.

2. The commandment says, “Love your neighbour as yourself”, Luke

10:27-28; Leviticus 19:18. Define “your neighbour”, being specific

to your own life.

3. Are there any local groups of people you have not included? Why?

4. Read Matthew 5:43-48. Why does Jesus change “hate” for “love”

with respect to “enemies”?

5. Are there any local people or groups you may see as enemies? What

difficulties will you find trying to “love (them as) your neighbours”?

6. Read Matthew 6:1-4.Why do you think Jesus wants our giving to

the poor to be largely secret?

7. How many Bible verses can you find that contain the words, “one

another”? For example, “Love one another”, John 13:34.

8. Are any of these ways Jesus wants us to help each other difficult

to do? Which ones? Why?

9. Where does the power to live as a Christian should come from? See

Romans 8:9.

10. Explain how a Christian is free to live following the Holy Spirit’s

guidance, Romans 8:1-2.


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