Friendly Friday: Who is my neighbor?

I love the parable of the Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). By the end we want to be the Samaritan because the Samaritan is the hero.

But the parable isn’t just about the Samaritan. The Samaritan doesn’t come up until the end. As a person of faith, the message to me comes much earlier in the story. So let’s get back the Samaritan later.

Scriptures tell us that the lawyer speaking to Jesus is trying to prove himself. He wants to inherit eternal life and wants it for free.

I see myself in the lawyer, wondering why Jesus twisted my original question and hoping Jesus will tell me I’ve already inherited eternal life by being a good woman. And he gives me a gold star to show everyone what a good person I am. But instead Jesus answers with a parable.

The story opens with a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Notice Jesus never actually tells us where the man is from. I’ve always been led to assume he was a good or neutral guy from Jerusalem – pure Jewish like the lawyer.

When the parable is applied to real Sisters of Christ, where she is from, where she is going, what she is wearing and what time of day she is walking becomes relevant. Her race and faith become important.  We want to know if she robbed a store for a few cigars. Where is she going? We want to know if the woman is headed to an abortion clinic, a brothel or church.

Jesus doesn’t give any of the facts typically found in the news. He provides no description of the victim. We have no information to help decide how much compassion we should have for her. Without any of these details it is difficult to blame the victim.

Jesus allows us to to identify with the victim. Jesus encourages the lawyer to identify with the victim and act like the Samaritan.

The media should leave out victim information that takes the focus away from the perpetrators or heroes.

The robbers attack the girl, they strip her, beat her and went away, leaving her half dead. I have plenty of posts about the robbers and what they have done so since it is Friendly Friday, I will save my comments for another day. Let’s get to the witnesses and the helper.

judgeThe church people see her lying in the road and pass on the other side. Most bible studies make scriptural excuses for the church people. They make old testament references to the importance of remaining clean for worship. However none of these excuses are included in the parable.

The church people are not the heroes of the parable. They are presented no better than the robbers.

I’m a church person but I don’t want to be the church people in this story. I don’t want Jesus pointing out my sin for walking to the other side of the street.

The news and  my community is full of girls attacked, stripped of clothes and dignity, beaten and left half dead. Ignoring their cries will not get me a free eternal life pass. So how can I be a neighbor to these girls? The Samaritan will show us how.

It is very interesting that scripture doesn’t tell us how the lawyer felt about Jesus’ charge to go and be like the Samaritan. Samaritans were despised. The lawyer wouldn’t want to be the Samaritan. He would have learned that Samaritans were the bad guys. Don’t get near them.

When I tell this story to youth, I urge them to shout ‘boo hiss’ when Jesus says ‘Samaritan’ to make the point that a ‘Samaritan’ was one of the least, lost and left out.

The lawyer probably thought Jesus was rude to make the Samaritan the hero. And in the end, the lawyer doesn’t say, ‘The SAMARITAN who had mercy on him’, he says, “the one.”

This parable implies a Samaritan is anyone despised by church people. According to the news, the internet and church gossip, church people would name Samaritans of 2014 as ‘those people’, the unrepentant sinners. The Samaritans aka unrepentant sinners need to clean themselves up, be really sorry for their sins and stop sinning to get into heaven.

Prostitutes, gay people (LGBT community), addicts, abortion clinic staff, atheists or anyone else despised by church people would be a Samaritan. I apologize to everyone I offended in that list.

Jesus makes it clear that anyone who has mercy on the woman lying naked in the street. takes pity on her, bandages her wounds, carries her to the hospital, gives her a place to stay or donates money to her care is a hero (Samaritan) regardless of their sexual orientation even if they happen to also be a prostitute, addict, non-Christian or atheist.

I found a husband and wife team of modern-day Samaritans who have recruited a few other Samaritans to join their team – Saturday Chores

I don’t know what their faith life is and frankly don’t care. They are a team that show love, compassion and protection to women on the road to an abortion clinic.

While I firmly believe life begins at conception (Psalm 139:13), I appreciate their ministry and would join them on Saturday morning if I lived in North Carolina.

I know Christ is there with them. Not holding a hateful sign but walking with each person going into the clinic telling them that the mean people holding nasty signs do not represent His love.

The only place Christ would picket is the Church. Christ would not stand outside an abortion clinic with a hateful sign.

And while I hope and pray that no woman ever has to make this choice, I want anyone who does to know that God conquered sin on the Cross. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

And Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

Saturday chores

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