So how would Jesus invite us to think about what is true?
Intriguing, he told parables, which are not measurably true, to help his followers and enemies understand the truth that he was speaking. Perhaps when we are so focused on facts as the only measure of what is true, we may be missing what is true.
Who is my neighbor? It’s a pretty simple question to answer, from a geographical perspective. It’s a pretty easy question to answer from the perspective of common interests, from mutual benefit.
But that’s not how Jesus taught it. Jesus was explaining the most important commandment, which was expressed as “‘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.’” He told the story we know as the good Samaritan. And the teacher said the neighbor to the beaten man was “the one who had mercy on him.”
So the truth of loving your neighbor as yourself is not finding people who offer mutual benefit. It’s not initially finding the person to talk to over the fence, or the person you get along with.
It’s offering care to people who are beaten and bruised and robbed, and who are ignored by the people in power.
It’s acknowledging the pain of people who have been rejected. It’s acknowledging that people have been rejected and that it is not their fault, it’s your opportunity to express care. It’s going out of your way to offer kindness and comfort and material support.
See what happens when we think about whatever is true? We begin to see that some of what Jesus is trying to teach us about love doesn’t fit with what some of us believe. Which is why we need to think about it.