One of the most famous parables in the Bible is that of the Good Samaritan. It is, in fact, so famous we have Good Samaritan laws. It describes how we treat those we don’t know. It does post an interesting and difficult question. It goes to the heart of something that we contemplate for our family. Just how do I love my neighbor as myself?
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
– Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)
I believe that most people view natural born children as a biological extension of themselves. I also believe that one way we can love our neighbor as ourselves is to adopt. In adoption we love children who are not biological extensions of ourselves as if they were and in doing so we follow the Lord’s command to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
We have added to our family by both birth and adoption and know the joy that both bring. Loving your neighbor as yourself does not only mean paying attention to the needs of others on occasion or around Christmas and Thanksgiving. It means treating them no differently than you treat yourself. I have wrestled with how to do that for a long time and am so thankful that the Lord showed us how to love they way He commands through our children.