Think about the last time you typed an angry Facebook comment or fired off a knee-jerk tweet. Would you have written the same if you thought of your audience as your neighbors?
In response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29), Jesus turned the focus back on the questioner’s heart with a story that crossed prevailing racial and religious boundaries. The parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that the demands of the Law are too high to justify ourselves — that’s why Luke points out that the questioner was “desiring to justify himself.”
Another important application, and the one I want to focus on here, is that our “neighbors” include even people we don’t know, and with whom we may vehemently disagree about important things like religion and politics (both of which separated the Samaritan from Jesus’ audience).