Luke 10:30 – 37 . . . Jesus said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
Which of the three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
This has been one of my favorite Bible stories for as far back as I can remember. Every time I hear it, I get so angry at those mean robbers! I’ve had friends who were victims of violent crimes, and hearing about these bullies stirs something inside of me.
But I’m not sure who was worse. Was it the robbers, or was it the good, respectable people who looked the other way and did nothing? The more I consider it, the more I think the priest and the Levite were worse than the robbers. Those robbers were after something – the man’s money. They had a goal, and as vile as that goal was, they were simply acting the way robbers are expected to act. The priest, however, should have known better. The Levite – an educated lawyer – should have known better. These two men had it in their power to do good, to help, and they chose to do nothing.
Now that’s just pitiful.
Then, along came a Samaritan. In case you didn’t know this already, Samaritans were considered to be scum-of-the-earth people. They were a mixed race of Jewish rebels and pagans. The good, respectable Jewish people hated them with a passion.
So, here was a Jewish man, half-dead on the side of the road, and the respectable people turned their heads. The despised Samaritan stopped when no one else would. He used expensive oil and wine as medicine. He carried the man to an inn and payed someone to take care of him, promising to return and pay any extra expenses.
All for a stranger.
A stranger who, had he been whole and healthy, probably would have despised him.
I wonder . . . if I had been traveling the road that day, which part would I have played?
I actually play a leading role in that story almost every day. All around me are people who are hurting, people who need to be loved and cared for.
I’m ashamed to say that some days, I look the other way. Some days, I’m either too busy or too distracted to take much notice. So I cross to the other side of the street and continue on my way.
That’s not who I want to be. I want to play the role of the Samaritan. I want to be the person who does the right thing, even when it is inconvenient. Even when it is costly. Even when the recipient of my good deeds may hate me.
I have a purpose here, and so do you. That purpose is to share God’s love with a hurting, dying world. To fulfill that purpose, we have to be inconvenienced at times. We have to pay a price sometimes. But when my story is written, I don’t want to be the girl who looked the other way.
I want to be remembered as the girl who loved. No matter what.
Dear Father, Forgive me for the times I’ve crossed to the other side of the road. Give me the courage and the character to do the right thing in every situation. Most of all, help me to love people with my actions, not just my words.