Reread: Luke 10:25-37
Blindness can seem such a black and white category to us. One thing about our eyes is that the way they were created has such a spot, which we would notice more except our brains automatically tune it out. So much of our lives can be this way, we often do not explore our assumptions and biases. We use stereotypes and labels to simplify our world, or even to reject others before they reject us. The truth is despite being religious people seeking to make the love of God known in the world, we still have blind spots. We still get in a hurry and miss moments we might best show the world the compassion of the Savior. I am sharing two resources, both have been powerful to me personally and for opposite reasons. The TED Talk my Daniel Goleman explores the internal obstacles we all have to truly seeing the neighbor’s God puts in our lives. Lastly, Phillip Fletcher’s adaptation of the Parable of the Good Samaritan to our time unleashes a bit of the punchiness and power of Jesus’ teaching in the words and images of our time. If you have time to partake of both please do so, if not, pick the one you think might be the most helpful and meaningful to you. Close your time in a prayer asking God, in your own words, to help you to slow down enough to truly “see” the needs of your neighbor
Watch “Why Aren’t We All Good Samaritians”
Read “The Good Muslim” by Phillip Fletcher
One day, a Christian of America made up in his mind to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, remind me on how I am to inherit eternal life.” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the New Testament? How do you read it?” And he answered, “I must have faith in him whom God has risen from the dead. It is a living faith which leads me to love God and my neighbor.” And Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But the Christian of America, didn’t fully appreciate the answer. He straightened his back. Cast a smirk of a smile and said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man was going from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, and he was car-jacked by several persons, who stole his clothes, seized his smartphone, broke his ribs, cracked his skull, leaving him unconscious on the side of the road. Now it happened to be the time of a great conference and a pro-life group was passing by, and when they saw the man, they passed on by. Likewise a missionary group who just returned from India, when they came to the exact same location, they too passed on to the other side.
But a Muslim, as he traveled to work, saw the man on the side of the road, and when he saw him, he entered into his suffering. He pulled out his first aid kit, tended to the man’s injuries and then called 911 for emergency assistance. He followed the ambulance to the hospital and sat over night with the man in ICU. Next morning he told the hospital billing office, “Here is my credit card. Take care of him and whatever he needs.”
Jesus looked at the Christian of America and with strong eyes asked, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man carjacked?”
The Christian of America clenched his fist. He looked around fumbling with the keys in his pocket. He finally looked up to Jesus and said, “The one who showed him mercy.”
And Jesus says to the Christian of America,
“You go, and do the same.”
This retelling of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) was inspired by my friend Jared Wilson who tweeted on Monday December 7, 2015:
“If Jesus were telling the parable we call The Good Samaritan to many evangelicals today, it might be known as The Good Muslim.”
This year has proven we need to revisit this parable and others like it to recover how we are to live as Christians in this current climate. We are seeking to justify ourselves and how we treat others on the basis of our citizenship, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Such justifications lead us only to love those who are like us. This parable demonstrates the power of transformative love when those who are in conflict share in each other’s suffering. This parable is spoken to those who ask the question, “What must I do to inherit life?”
Jesus is speaking to us today.
Jesus is telling us a old story in a new way.
Jesus who has showed us mercy now says,
“You go, and do the same. It will cost you time. It will cost you resources. It will cost your life. But because I have give you the power of an indestructible life. You go, and do the same. Show mercy as an act of gratitude for the mercy you have received.”
Close your time in a prayer asking God, in your own words, to help you to slow down enough to truly “see” the needs of your neighbor.