“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” – Luke 10:36-37.
The story the good Samaritan is one of the parables of Jesus. He tells it in response to a question from a lawyer, who asks him “who is my neighbor?” The story concerns a traveller on the way from Jerusalem to Jericho, who is attacked, robbed and left half-dead by the roadside. Two other travelers pass by on the other side, but a man from Samaria decides to stop and show compassion towards the man, who had been attacked. He takes him to a safe place and provides for his recovery. The good Samaritan didn’t just do something; he felt something: “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.” The end of the parable is a command to extend real compassion in the way the Samaritan did: “now go and do the same.” (Luke 10:37).
So our mission is to go, and be like the good Samaritan. Go the extra mile. Don’t be so busy that we lose sight of people all around us. Take a look around. Beaten, bloodied, and bruised people aren’t hard to find. Maybe not in a literal sense. But children are hungry and living in poverty. 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 compassion.
Real compassion makes it more personal. Real compassion leads to involvement. It leads to commitment. Compassion does not allow us to 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 when we face trias 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.
The ministry that cares for children in need all over the world is called Compassion International for good reason. It’s a reminder that we are called to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32), just as God has been kind and compassionate to us. Psalm 116:5 says, ” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.”
As Christians, we can’t do everything. But we can do something. We can help, give, love, encourage, pray, etc. Even a small thing that can make a real difference in somebody’s life.
- Is it easier to be compassionate to A) a friend, B) a stranger or a neutral acquaintance or C) an enemy? How do you feel about being compassionate to a person intent on doing harm to you?
- In what situations is it easy to be compassionate? When is it difficult? Why?
- What can we do this week to be more compassionate?