“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.” – Luke 10:33
One of the many great stories in the Bible is the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus is asked a question by a lawyer: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25) He answers his own question by saying, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (vs.27) He then asks Jesus another question: “And who is my neighbor?” (vs 29) Jesus replies with the story of the Good Samaritan.
Most people have read or heard the story of the Good Samaritan any number of times. But it is the type of story that can change your perception and your awareness every time you read it. It forces some hard questions: Am I truly a Good Samaritan? And how often do I cross the road to avoid someone in need? Do I see a need when I encounter people I meet on a daily basis? Do I see the opportunities to serve? Or do I unintentionally walk by? Am I rushed or distracted? Am I indifferent? When I read the story of the Good Samaritan I wonder how the priest and the Levite could walk on the other side of the road and ignore the plight of the injured man. But am I not capable of doing the same thing?
“Loving your neighbor” doesn’t have a qualifying caveat like when you have time, or when you are in a good frame of mind, or when it’s a person you like or at least comfortable with. Loving your neighbor does not come with any conditions. There is no small type. God calls us all to care for His children. There are no boundaries, no rules, nor qualifiers that limit this command.
The message is clear. Our neighbors are everybody we have contact with. We need to open our eyes and see. Beaten, bloodied, and bruised people aren’t hard to find. Maybe not in a literal sense. But there are people in need. Homeless people are all around us. So are people who lost their jobs and have basic needs. These are the people that need a Good Samaritan and people who look through a lens of compassion.
Real compassion makes it more personal. Real compassion leads to involvement. It leads to commitment. Compassion does not allow us to watch from a distance. Compassion makes it difficult to watch and wait. You want to help, you want to do something. When we are hurting and when we face trials of life we want someone to walk beside us, share our burden, and say, “I love you. Let me help.” This is what love and compassion does.
We need to see the broken and wounded, the weak and the lost. We need to get out of our comfort zones and remove our fears, our judgments, our daily distractions. We need to cross the road.
- When you think of serving others what is the first thing that comes to mind?
- In what situations is it difficult to cross the road? Why?
- What can we do this week to be of service to people in need?