A lawyer asks Jesus “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:29-37
I wonder how the priest and the Levite, both religious officials justified going out of their way to ignore the man who had been beaten nearly to death and robbed? Yet a Samaritan stopped to help him, put him on his animal and paid the equivalent of two days salary and more if needed, for a room for him until he was well enough to get back on the road. (Remember, Jews thought it unthinkable to associate with Samaritans).
I am so guilty of being the Priest and the Levite and treating others as “non-neighbors”. Too many times I have seen cars on the side of the road with a flat tire or the hood up and I have kept on driving. I justify my actions in many ways and I will list the most common ones I use. I have also seen “the down and out” and walked on by.
- I’m afraid to stop
- I’m running late
- They probably have a cell phone and have already called for help
- I don’t know how to change a tire and I’ m not a mechanic
- I might get robbed or worse
Those of us who “justify” know the list is endless. For the record I have stopped and I have helped on many occasions, still there are many times I haven’t and to be honest with you I wonder if it is something I am going to have to answer for.
I pray that I will come to a point in my Christian walk that someday I will have the attitude that “What I have, God has given to me, so I’ll share it.” I pray also that my faith will be increased and that my fears will be replaced with complete trust.
The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal 5:14