Who is the neighbor? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
This morning, I was working through a Gospel Notebook I have to do for a New Testament class where I am pretty much commenting on Scripture. I got to the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is something I have thought about for awhile, but I decided now was a good time to write about it.
Today, we have in some ways lost the impact of the Good Samaritan. The term “Good Samaritan” is actually a compliment to hear. I never cared for the show, but I understand the last episode of Seinfeld was about the breaking of a Good Samaritan Law that said you were supposed to help someone who was in need if you were capable.
If we want to really picture how different it is, what are some ways we could do so?
Here are some I have come up with and I will try to go from position to position.
An evangelical Christian was left for dead and a pastor and a seminary professor passed him by, but an atheist came by and had compassion on him.
A leftist was left for dead and a Marxist professor and a Democrat politician passed him by, but a MAGA supporter came by and had compassion on him.
An Israeli was left for dead and a rabbi and an evangelical Christian passed him by, but a member of Hamas came by and had compassion on him.
A conservative pro-life Christian was left for dead and a conservative politician and a pro-life activist passed him by, but a transgender person came by and had compassion on him.
In every case, we need to think for ourselves about what if we were the person who was beaten and left for dead. Think then about who it is you would expect to stop and help you, and yet they will pass you by. Then think about who you would consider to be your mortal enemy and then realize that if that person came by and had compassion on you, what would you do?
This is also why I included the Israeli and the Hamas member. If it was told today, one would think that the Hamas member would pull out his gun and finish the job. Nope. Instead, he ends up having compassion. You could expect that a fellow Jew could have compassion or an evangelical Christian, especially a dispensational one who talks about the love of Israel, would help him.
It’s a difficult question to think about since you have to really look at yourself and say “Who is it that I would find myself the most opposed to?” Then you have to ask yourself, “Who is it I would find myself most aligned to?” If you can look and realize that that person had compassion on you,
If we do this, we can return to the shock of the parable. We can realize who we disagree with the most and what we can do in how we treat them. It is not saying we should cease to disagree with them, but you can disagree with someone and love them, something our culture seems to forget. It also means that we need to be a neighbor to that person. It doesn’t mean we do everything they want, but it does mean we try to show love the best we can.
Who is your Good Samaritan?
(And I affirm the virgin birth)