The Good Samaritan

     Jesus gave us a wonderful example of love in the story of the Good Samaritan.  You remember the story.  It was prompted by a question from a young lawyer, a student of the Law.  He knew there was something lacking in his heart.  The love God part was relatively easy in his Jewish mind.  All he had to do was keep the commandments and fulfill the rituals.  It was the love your neighbor part that troubled him.  Loving your neighbor can be hard.  This young lawyer wanted to know the boundaries.  Just who was he expected to love?  And, whom could he ignore or reject? 

     Jesus told the story.  A certain man fell among thieves.  In other words he was mugged.  As he lay hurting, people walked by him.  They ignored his needs, even though he was one of their own people.  He might have paid them.  He might have rewarded their kindness.  But they walked by because they were afraid of the cost to themselves. 

     Finally the Samaritan man notices the need and comes to help.  Now, we have to understand that the Jews hated the Samaritans.  It was very likely that this hurting man would turn against the Samaritan as soon as he was well.  He might reject the kindness.  He might push the Good Samaritan away.  When he got better, this Jewish man might be cruel toward the Samaritan.

     None of that mattered.  The man was hurting and needed help.  Love demanded kindness and caring.  The Samaritan was good because he followed the command to love his neighbor. 

     We are commanded to love.  It doesn’t matter whether the person is lovable or not, we must love them.  How do we do such a thing?  Only by the grace of the Lord.

     What’s the big deal with us loving each other?  We like each other already.  We are friends.  What’s the big deal with being loving toward your family?  That’s supposed to be easy because they love you in return.  The hard ones are those who don’t love you back.  The hard ones are those into whom you can pour all kinds of love and get nothing in return.  That’s when love is something special, according to Jesus. 

     And that’s when love is impossible.  There is nothing in you that wants to love someone like that… at least nothing in your flesh.  Your feelings are natural.  When you want to stay away, when you want to avoid that person, when you just wish you didn’t have to deal with the problem, that’s normal human emotion.  The flesh doesn’t love anyone who doesn’t pay back.

     So if those feelings are normal and we are still commanded to love that person, what’s the secret?  Well, we have to reach out to the one person who is not normal.  Jesus is without sin.  No stain of the flesh is on Him.  He loves perfectly.  He can love that person through you.

     You see, love is an active verb.  It is something we do.  Love is not a feeling we have toward someone.  That’s the world’s kind of love, isn’t it?  I love you because you make me feel good.  I feel good when I am with you so I must love you.  That’s the world’s kind of love.

     The love of the Lord Jesus Christ for us is the love that reaches out to enemies, to the unlovable.  Only His love in us and through us can move us to do love toward others, especially those who are hard to love.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Good Samaritan

  1. Rebekah Grace

    This, for me, was profound this morning! Dealing with some fears in regards to a possible job (interview today at 2) that would require love, mercy and grace. My mind was stirring last night, even in it’s sleep mode. What if? What if? What if?

    So many of your words here Dave hit home…..initially, “afraid of the cost to themselves”, WOW! Oh that conviction was strong. And yet I’ve seen it play out in my Christian family. People pulling back “afraid of the cost to themselves”. Following the familiar rut of faith lived out in my family and following Jesus are turning out to be entirely different. And no, I don’t know how I feel about that. Sad maybe?

    Through all my journey I’m learning the agape love the Father has bestowed on me freely. Even when I could care less, even when I can’t do anything for HIm (because I never can). If when we become aware of that love God so graciously extends to us, how can we not allow Him to do the same through us? To not would be a travesty and it plays out, as with my own family, in many Christian families and churches. As the old saying goes, sitting in church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car.

    As my the thoughts, the anxieties and the fears rattled around in my head last night I heard the sweet voice of the Spirit say this, “Will you not go where I want you to go?” And it was then that I knew……this isn’t about me and I can’t be so afraid of the cost to myself that I miss Jesus. No. I can’t. I won’t.

    So, this post was timely for me and I appreciate it. Hard as it is, the thought of being so surrendered, so humbled under the Hand of the Lord that we can be like this Good Samaritan today thrills me! It’s life changing folks! Life changing!

    Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. I know return you to regular programming.

  2. Sue

    You feel free to get on your soapbox any time; it always blesses me!

    I will be saying a prayer for you and your job interview. It’s not easy to listen to that still, small voice when it goes against everything your flesh tells you is right. You are being very courageous. I hope to be just as courageous some day.

    ::sigh::

    I am learning so much from you Dave and from all of you who leave replies and share your life.

    Thank you!!!!

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