A question for today straight from a classic Scripture: Will you pass by the hurting on the other side of the road, too? I don’t mean for this to be a group query but, rather, an individual and personal question.
If it’s made into a group question, we have a tendency to feel less responsible for our answer as we share the weight of it with others.
The past few weeks, I’ve listened to the Holy Spirit as he has spoken to my heart about one of the messages Jesus conveys in Luke 10:25-37. We often refer to these verses as the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Let me refresh your memory.
In this Biblical account, Jesus was telling a story about a man who one day was traveling on a 16-mile trip from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers who beat him, took his clothes and left him for dead.
A priest came along going down the same road, saw him, and instead of helping, decided he’d not get involved and just pass by on the other side.
Next, came along a Levite. A Levite had as one of his duties the job of assisting the priest in carrying out his responsibilities in the temple. All priests were Levites but not all Levites were priests.
This Levite did the same as the priest before him had done. He, too, saw the man that had been beaten and, rather than helping him, passed by on the other side, as well.
Then, a third man came along. We don’t know much about this man but we do know that he was from the community of Samaria. He saw the injured man and instead of doing as the two men before him had done, he stopped, went to him, had pity on him, cleaned his wounds and bandaged him up. After that, he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and cared for him there.
The next day, this Samaritan had to finish his journey so he asked the innkeeper to care for him. He then gave him money and told him the next time he came back that way, he would stop and give him more money if the man had incurred any additional expense.
If you are like me, you have at times tried to place yourself into this Biblical account as you wondered what you would have done if you would have been the one to come upon the victim that day.
For myself, I’ve always hoped that I would have responded as the Good Samaritan had done and did everything I possibly could to help this wounded sojourner.
For just a moment, though, will you play “what if” along with me?
What if you were the one who came upon the wounded man and recognized him as being a person who had previously said or done something to a loved one that was harmful to him? Would you still have stopped to help that man?
Or, what if, you recognized him as someone who has lied, gossiped, slandered or besmirched your reputation?
Some may have said, “He’s always honest, no matter what. I know him and he would never do any of these things to anyone, so, why would we question what he has said about you? In fact, we don’t even need to hear what you have to say.”
Remember this: God knows the truth. Those who have done wrong to us in this way answer to the Almighty, ultimately. Again I ask, “Would you still have stopped to help that man?”
In my flesh, I will readily tell you there is no way I would go out of my way to help him or her in any way. But this is where we are commanded to be different from those who do not profess to know Christ. If this has happened to you, I want to encourage you to trust God and leave the paydays to him.
In order for us to make our greatest impact for the cause of Christ, we must respond as Christ beckons us and as the Good Samaritan did. He has given us the responsibility to be an arm of him who lives in us and to emulate him no matter how difficult situations may be.
As I bring this column to a close, let me ask you my original question, again. Will you pass by on the other side, too?
Luke 10:36-37 says, “Which of these men do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers? The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Nita Evans of Columbus is owner of Confidential Christian Counseling, focusing her work especially with ministry leaders and their families. She also is a Columbus Police Department chaplain and a national retreat and conference speaker. She can be reached at 812-614-7838 or by visiting specialspeaker.com.