I was just thinking about the story of the Good Samaritan. And I think we tend to see ourselves either as the man on the road, or the good Samaritan. Those are the only good options, right? And we all want to be the Good Samaritan. He was the one who Jesus praised.
The reason this story was so revolutionary in Jesus’ time was the Jews and Samaritans were enemies. The Jews saw Samaritans as “mongrels” that were less than human, would avoid talking or eating with them at all costs, would even go the long way around their territory. That’s why it was amazing to imagine a Samaritan helping a Jew. Can you imagine helping someone you disagree with so fundamentally? Someone who hates you that much?
But he did it. And he was the man’s neighbor in that story. So of course we want to be the Good Samaritan.
But I was wondering: when we imagine ourselves as the Good Samaritan, as being willing to help someone in need, who do we imagine is the person we are HELPING?
Can you imagine helping that person if he or she was:
Where do we subconsciously or consciously draw the line at who is worthy enough to love? Because Jesus didn’t have a line. The Good Samaritan had every reason to avoid helping a man he disagreed with so fundamentally. And he did not approve of the Jewish prejudice that treated him as unloveable by God by helping a Jew. I think we Christians often fall into the trap of believing that helping someone we disagree with is condoning their sinful actions, or confirming their belief that we are inferior. But God commands us to love our enemies. Turn the other cheek. Walk the extra mile. Care for our neighbors regardless of their background or race or physicality. Be examples of His loving-kindness, goodness, patience, brotherly love. As when Jesus saved the life of the adulterous woman and said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” As when Jesus gave his own life for every last one of us fallen, selfish, broken humans out of His love.
We are the body of Christ. Through our willingness to love even our enemies and to see them as God’s beloved creations, in need of a Savior, we open ourselves up to letting God shine HIS love through us and guide them home.
I’m going to work on remembering this. I hope this helped someone else, as well. Love you all, and praying for your health and safety.