On one occasion a religious minded lawyer stood up to test the Teacher. “Sir,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit a life that never ends - life to its fullest?”
“What is written in the Teachings?” he replied. “How do you read them?”
He answered, “Well - it says to ‘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.’”
“Correct,” the Teacher replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to show that he was virtuous on his own merit, so he asked the Teacher, “Who is my neighbor?”
The Mentor replied: “A man was traveling from the northern part of the United States to the deep south. At a rest stop along the way - he was attacked by thugs. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
A prestigious pastor of a large congregation happened to be going down the same road and stopped at the rest stop. When he saw the naked and destitute man, he drove away in a hurry.
So too, a rich elder from a different well-to-do church (that was a major donor to political campaigns), when he came to the place and saw him, he drove off as well.
But a dark skinned immigrant Muslim family, as they traveled, came where the man was - and when they saw him, they had compassion. They went to him and bandaged up his wounds. Then put the man in their car, and travelled to a near city that was known for their proud patriotism, and helped him into the hospital. The next day the father paid the man’s medical bill in full. Then he told the doctor - 'Look after him and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense that might accrue.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the thieves?”
The lawyer replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
The Teacher told him, “Go and do likewise.”