Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods

Somebody asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” To that, Jesus replied with the parable of the Good Samaritan, who helped a wounded man he found on the side of the road.

Many of us are one step ahead of Jesus. We have moved to safe neighborhoods where junkies don’t mug poor strangers for us to find. We use “walkability scores” in our GPS directions to help us avoid those lonely, dangerous sidewalks.

We would help the wounded man from the story if we ever came across him…but we won’t. To us I say, good luck explaining that distinction to Jesus when we meet Him!


Economics is an academic framework that is broadly used to study how (mostly selfish) people interact. In Biblical terms, economists study the ways of “the world.” Jesus responds, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

This article is one of several that present simple economic models of how everyday people interact and discuss how Christians could act differently.

Written on August 20, 2020