Is there really such a thing as a neutral interaction? I’m not so sure. Every move you make either positively or negatively affects other people. Shocking, right? You either have a positive or a negative effect on the people around you. It may be miniscule, but it’s unavoidable. When you consider the eternal significance of everything you do and the eternal nature of every soul, every interaction you have should matter.
Can you remember the last time you saw a need and didn’t try to meet it? What do you think was going through the other person’s mind? Do you think they enjoyed being ignored? Think about what could have happened if you stopped to see how you could help, if you took advantage of the opportunity to strengthen another’s faith or be salt and light. By choosing to love your neighbor, you are planting a seed that could have eternal impact.
Take the parable of the Good Samaritan as a proverbial example. The priest and the Levite totally ignored the need of a struggling stranger. Now, I can’t say for sure what the man was thinking as he lay injured on the side of the road, but I’m sure he was pretty discouraged. Then came the Samaritan, a man who was the least likely to stop and help (as Jews and Samaritans were at odds at that point in history). Instead, he put aside his feelings and met the need he encountered in front of him. Sometimes, something as simple as a smile can change a person’s whole day for the better.
It’s easy to turn our focus inward and only focus on our own well-being, but God calls us to look out for our neighbors and those in need. Remember the Golden Rule — treat everyone the way that you would want to be treated? Well I have the Gruver Rule: treat everyone as if it were Jesus in front of you.
So, like Jesus urged at the end of the story, go and do likewise.