Is that not an amazing commercial?

Say what you will about their coffee (you may or may not be a fan), but Tim Horton’s knocked it out of the park with this creative genius. Sure…there are 100’s of other drinks or food choices one could use to bring people together, but the point was well made.

And how timely is this commercial?

You could show this in any season. But this past week, with all the talk about borders and the lack of human dignity, we needed to be reminded just how important it is to break down walls and both love & see our neighbour as our selves.

(The southern US border issue has totally taken over the news these days, has it not?)

We’ve been asking this question the last few weeks…won’t you be my neighbour?

And challenged ourselves with this other question…what kind of neighbour will you be?

You know what’s at the heart of this conversation? Why neighbouring is difficult? Because human beings are diverse and complex beings.

So here’s a third question? How can I connect with those who are different then me? How can I be a neighbour to someone who looks, talks, acts, lives, and believes differently than me?

Glad you asked this question 🙂

TWO important statements we must get out of the way…

We’re all different…
You know this to be true simply because even the people who are closest to you are different than you…in character, personality, interests, etc.
We’re also all the same…
You also know this to be true because we all share similar needs, food, rest, relationships, shelter, etc.

If we’re all the same, but also all very different, why is it that we have such a hard time relating to people who are both the same and different if every one is both the same and different? A bit of a tongue twister, but worth asking.

Let me got this out of the way: we should appreciate people’s differences! People who follow Jesus should appreciate people’s differences! Because Everyone Matters to God. Period.

– – – – – – – – – –

We’ve been coming back to the same story, week after week. It’s found in two gospels, Mark 12 & Luke 10.

In Mark Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment. In Luke he is asked how one experiences eternal life. The response is the same: Love God & Love Others.

Love God…how…with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Love your neighbour…how…as you love yourself.

Let’s jump to Luke 10…after this exchange the religious teacher asks a follow up question…

“And who is my neighbour?”

Know that this question is more about ‘who is pure?’, ‘who is to be loved?’. Up to this point, they’re pretty sure neighbour would be someone close to them, like them, in their clan or tribe or culture or religion.

If you were here in week one (or read our recap), we learned that Jesus is quoting Leviticus, a book for Israel, to help Israel live in community. So the initial reference is about someone who was close, in culture and experience.

Jesus…as he does so well…expands our understanding of neighbour…and by doing that also expands our understanding of love.

Jesus responds by telling the (well known) story of the Good Samaritan…

  • A man is hurt on the side of a road…robbed, stripped, left for dead
  • A priest walks by and moves to the other side of the street
  • A Levite (religious leader) also moves to the other side of the street
  • A Samaritan…had pity on him, helped him, bandaged him, paid for his hotel room

“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.”

I love that Jesus doesn’t just say, ‘correct answer’, he says, ‘go and live this out’.

This isn’t just about who has more compassion, it’s about who the Samaritan is in the story? Samaritan’s and Jews didn’t get along. Samaritan’s were different. They weren’t ‘pure’. They were ‘other people’. YET…the Samaritan is the neighbour in the story who loves on the other (needy) neighbour in the story. Jesus identifies the neighbour in need, and the neighbour with love.

The original listener, a religious Jew, thinks the priest or the Levite is correct? (stay clean…they’re not one of you…they’re not your neighbour…they’re not the same culture) But…by obeying the Torah (Law), they disobeyed it’s intent (Loving others).

Remember this: Loving others beats loving the Law. Love people more than you love your Bible. Why? Cause if you love your bible more than you love people, you’re probably not falling in love with the Jesus we find in the Bible.

This week was both a wild week in the news, and ironically also had a designated day… #RefugeeDay/#WithRefugee Day

Here are some of the quotes that caught my attention in relation to our conversation…

The busier we are living our lives the less we think about others. Don’t neglect those important to you. (D. Ridgley)

Neighbouring is so important because the way we treat others is a reflection of our relationship with Jesus. 

We encounter Jesus in those who are poor, rejected, or refugees. Do not let fear get in the way of welcoming our neighbour in need.#WithRefugees⁠ ⁠ (Pope)

A person’s dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant, or a refugee. Saving the life of someone fleeing war and poverty is an act of humanity. #WithRefugees⁠ ⁠(Pope)

“Being a Christian is not about having new ideas; it’s about having new eyes. It’s about seeing Jesus in our neighbours.” @ShaneClaiborne

“We get the sense that the closer we are to God the less we should want to throw stones at each other. None of us are beyond redemption and none of us above reproach”

Hospitality is more than an open door. It’s an acknowledgement of the gifts the stranger brings. (Joan Chittister)

Do not spend time bothering whether to love your neighbour, act as if you did. (CS Lewis)

Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart and one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them. (posted by Kristen Mauceri)

This is all bound up in, “Who is my neighbour?”

A better question might be, “to whom can I be a neighbour?”

The difference is, you’re not sifting through your options, but looking to live out Jesus’ love of others.

This means that neighbourly love is whenever love and wherever love… (BIG)

That sounds extravagant, I know, but it’s the kind of love God has for us…and the kind of love that should pour out of us for others.

For this to happen; for us to love those who are the same & different…we need to practice these things…
– Respect
– Understanding & Appreciation of where people from
– Empathetic of others situation or circumstances
– Non-Judgment of peoples differences
– Hold your views with conviction & humility
– Instead of walking to the other side of the street to get away…walk to the side they’re on to get to know them.


Here are a few things to think about when trying to connect with people who are different than you, and loving them, your neighbour, at the same time…

1) Start with Common Ground (the Tim Horton’s clip does this well)
2) Read a book with an opposing view as you
3) Build a relationship with someone who is different. Examples would be…people who don’t have your sexual orientation, who is of a different faith, who is of a different class or financial bracket, who sees the world differently than you do.
– If you look into each of those persons eyes, they matter to God!
This is not to say that you should stay in a toxic relationship…or allow others to bully you or abuse you…not at all!
4) Pray…for those you love and for those you have a hard time loving.

In the words of the king of Wakanda (Black Panther) “Build Bridges, not walls”