Who Is My Neighbor? - The Warrior's Journey®

Who Is My Neighbor?

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“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”  

(Luke 10:29) 

How far does the obligation to love go? Are we ever “off duty” in our Christian obligation? In 1985, a group of 100 New Orleans lifeguards attended a pool party to celebrate their first drowning-free swimming season.  One of the invited guests was 31-year-old Jerome Moody. The party went on for hours. And for the entire time not one of the partying lifeguards took notice of Jerome’s lifeless body at the bottom of the pool. The 100 men and women represented the entire lifeguard force of the New Orleans Recreation Department. How could so many lifeguards have failed to help? Could they argue, “We were off-duty at the time and were under no obligation to help”? 

Are there professional boundaries to showing God’s love? In 1995, a chaplain assistant of the 101st Airborne Division took his own life just outside the division chaplain office? Couldn’t this man, surrounded by nearly forty chaplains, have found a sympathetic ear? What could have gone wrong? I have an idea. A week earlier this same assistant’s chaplain lectured me at length on how “a chaplain is not his assistant’s pastor, but only his supervisor.” He insisted that, if a chaplain assistant had problems, he or she should take them to another chaplain, one who is not in his “supervisory chain.” In other words a troubled soldier could be so close to help, yet be prohibited from accessing it. It was all done in the name of professionalism. 

Yet a chaplain is a minister in uniform. First and foremost he or she is a servant of God. Their duty to God to extend His mercy to others transcends all other obligations, including the obligation to maintain purely professional relationships with subordinates. 

Are there nationalistic boundaries? During the Battle for Crete (Operation Mercury) in May 1941, doctors of both the British and Axis forces felt an obligation to care for all casualties. Without showing preference, the physicians treated casualties on both sides – and there were lots of them. Their sense of obligation to all humanity outweighed any regulatory restrictions to only render medical assistance to soldiers on their own side. 

In His story of the Good Samaritan Jesus taught us that our obligation to love our neighbor extends beyond all boundaries. In fact, Jesus commanded us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). For God Himself has set the precedent. He loved us all when were His enemies and used our murder of His Son to redeem us (Romans 5:10). 


  • Are there certain people you believe to be unworthy of your love and kindness? Perhaps people of another color, nationality, or political affiliation?
  • Is it possible that you are simply making excuses why you shouldn’t love others? 
  • Jesus said there are no limits on the obligation to love. It extends to our enemies.

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