I just finished a great book called Tea with Hezbollah. The premise of the book is that two men went to several locations in the Middle East, going to the decision makers and leaders asking questions with a focus on loving your neighbors.
Jesus has a conversation, recorded in Luke 10, where he states the importance of “Loving 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.” (v. 27). Focusing on the second half, these took the verse and the story which follows back to the people living where the parable would have lived.
“In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of 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, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins 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.'” (Luke 10: 30-35).
The question then, and now, boils down to who is my neighbor? I highly recommend the book and hearing the different answers. But, in my own thoughts while reading it, I was thinking about the “enemies” of my own community. Gangs are one that spring to mind. But, what about poverty, fear, families that are falling apart – what are the enemies there? How do we love our enemy? Is it possible? Or is it so difficult, so terribly difficult that we have convinced ourselves that not only is it impossible but it is an unassailable wall. What if it is not impossible? Yes, terribly difficult – but what if the true enemy is the belief that it is impossible?