Summary: What does it mean to be a neighbor to someone? How is it that we are to love others as ourselves? It is because God sets the pace for his people.
Years ago PBS featured a program where the host would enter the studio, take off his cardigan sweater, and his dress shoes and put on some sneakers – all the while singing his signature song:
“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood
A beautiful day for a neighbor
Won’t you be my neighbor?”
What was the name of the long running PBS show?
(Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood)
Now, I’m going to give you the name of famous TV stars and then ask you to give the name of their neighbor:
o Dennis the Menace … (“Helloooo Mr. Wilson!”)
o Daren & Samantha Stevens (Abner and Gladys Kravitz)
o Jerry Seinfeld - (Kramer)
o Laverne & Shirley – (Lenny & Squiggy)
o Flintstones – (the Rubbles)
o The Jeffersons - before they had their own show (Archie & Edith Bunker)
o Ricky & Lucy Ricardo (Fred & Ethel Mertz)
o Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor (Wilson Wilson)
A Neighbor can be in close proximity
A neighbor can be a fellow traveler/human being
Pointing back to instructions from Leviticus 19.9-18
I. Actions Toward Neighbors:
A. Practice Kindness (Leviticus 19.9-10)
9 "When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge; neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.
Rules of Harvest & Care for Poor – Dignity
Poor man was a brother according to Torah
Other cultures protect the rights of “haves” to the neglect of the “have nots”
Care for poor as Job 31.16-23
16"If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
17or have eaten my morsel alone,
and the fatherless has not eaten of it
18(for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father,
and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow),
19if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
or the needy without covering,
20if his body has not blessed me,
and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,
21if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
because I saw my help in the gate,
22then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder,
and let my arm be broken from its socket.
23For I was in terror of calamity from God,
and I could not have faced his majesty.
Seen at Pentecost (Acts 2)
Shavuot – Harvest/Anniversary of Mt. Sinai
Care for the Needy – Acts 2.44-45
B. Display Integrity (Leviticus 19.11-18)
1. No Theft (v. 11)
11 "You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. 12 You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.
Not as a joke/not to get back stolen articles
Not stealing good opinions of others with flattering/deceptive words – Politicians
[Absalom – 2 Samuel 15.2-6
2. No Lying (vv. 11-12)
Truth is critical – John 14.6
Truth in love is essential – Ephesians 4.32
Not for harm/shame or revenge
3. No Taking Advantage of Others (v. 13)
13 "You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.
Cheating out of wages
Pay when it is due (daily)
4. No Deceptions for the Innocent (v. 14)
14 You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
Blind/Deaf = misfortune/inexperience/moral weakness
Do not lead into sin – many want to corrupt the pure and innocent
5. No Partiality (v. 15; James 2.1-13)
15"You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.
Jews vs. Samaritans
6. No Scandalous Behavior (v. 16a)
16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people,
Gossip is as murder
Note James 3 (especially vv. 9-10)
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
Protection for the Victims (v. 16b) Good Samaritan practiced this
you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.
[At about 3:20 a.m. on March 13, 1964 in Queens, NY, Kitty Genovese, drove home after work. She parked her car and began to walk the 30 yards through the lot to her door. Noticing a man at the far end of the lot, she paused. When he started toward her, she turned the other way and tried to reach a police call box half a block away. The man caught her and stabbed her. She started screaming that she’d been stabbed, and crying for help. Lights went on in the apartment building across the street. Windows opened. One man called out, "Let that girl alone!"