Three Attitudes Toward Your Neighbor - #1: Distance

“A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.” (Luke 10:30-31 NLT)

Jesus said the second greatest responsibility you have in life is to love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself, and he told a story to show the three attitudes we may choose toward other people.

When a man was beaten and robbed on the road to Jericho, the first traveler to come upon him kept his distance. He avoided making any contact.

Some of us have developed a lifestyle of avoidance. We don’t want to get close to people because they might ask for help. They may actually need you, so you keep your distance.

When we live with this attitude, all of our relationships are superficial. We keep everyone at arm’s length because, otherwise, we might get involved. And if we get involved, we might get hurt.

Jesus said a priest — a religious man — came walking down the road and saw someone who had been beaten, mugged, and left for dead. Yet, the priest chose to maintain his distance and go about his business, and he walked to the other side of the road.

This attitude keeps people out of sight and out of mind. What can you do to break through this “keep your distance” attitude?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life.  His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for pastors. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.

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