Friday, August 05, 2011

The Person On The Side Of The Road..

The Story of the Good Samaritan... We know it. We love it right? We've heard great sermons on it.

The whole year of 2010 God had this passage swimming in my mind... I learned more than I thought possible from this little section of scripture. Today I wanted to share the part of my journey through this parable that has most bent my mind, heart and soul...but first check out the parable one more time. :-)

Luke 10:25-37

The Message (MSG)

Defining "Neighbor"

25Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. "Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?"

26He answered, "What's written in God's Law? How do you interpret it?"

27He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself."

28"Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live."

29Looking for a loophole, he asked, "And just how would you define 'neighbor'?"

30-32Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

33-35"A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I'll pay you on my way back.'

36"What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?"

37"The one who treated him kindly," the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, "Go and do the same."

I don't know about you but in my vision I'd always seen some sweet little character of a man walking by. This is a kind man, a quiet man, a generous man... SUDDENLY he is ATTACKED by no fault of his own.

This is how it always went in my head and I had strong opinions about it.

You've judged the dudes that passed by right???? Ok maybe it was just me. I judged them. I mean what kind of people see some poor dude dying on the side of the road and don't DO anything about it??? LOOOOOOSERS...

While I was busy being judgmental God whispered this...

What if the people that passed by him KNEW who he the guy on the side of the road was?

What if he was a drug dealer, a thief, a guy who hurt others...

What of he had robbed other innocent people himself and had finally gotten what he deserved?

What if this guy HAD IT COMING?

What if they KNEW who he was and he was dangerous?

What if he was a cruel person who had done horrible things?

What if he didn't care about anyone but himself?

What if he had hurt the innocent?

What if he had cheated on his wife?

What if he was judgmental and self righteous and persecuted the imperfect?

What if he was racist and violent?

What then.... was there a good reason those two left him on the side of the road?

Have we left someone on the side of the road for very good reasons?

I don't judge the two so harshly anymore. Now I wonder how many times I have been one of them. Maybe they were on their way to help the innocent. Maybe they were rescuing orphans or the homeless or preaching that day. Maybe they weighed it out and the good they were doing seemed more vital than helping that dangerous person on the side of the road.

It always seemed so clear cut... not anymore.

Helping the person on the side of the road isn't JUST helping that poor little innocent guy who doesn't belong there. It's just helping the guy on the side of the road... the end.. that is the command.

This has been a stretching, painful and exhausting journey for me. Learning to love my neighbor has been so much more challenging than I ever anticipated. I still don't know how to do it but I think I am learning.

It turns out there is such deep joy in loving the person on the side of the road. It turns out loving that person no matter why they are there brings freedom and allows me to throw judgement over the side of a cliff. It allows grace to flow in new ways I didn't know were possible.

It challenges me constantly and I truly had no idea how many people I had justified in leaving on the side suffering in their beaten state.

Sure, maybe it was their own mistakes or failures that had beaten them up. Yet, there they were in pain... spiritually bleeding and dying... and there I was prancing by to go do good. Man alive. How many times was I the person who passed by???

Loving the person on the side of the road. Sigh.. God help me do that well. May I finally be the one who "treated him kindly."


Peggy said...

I am looking back at all the times I've passed people (usually in a car) on the side of the road thinking, "It is too dangerous for me to stop and help. What if they are acting and what they really want is for me to stop so they can attack me or rob me?" It was probably no different then. It's so hard to discern those situations. :( More prayer is in order for me.

Anonymous said...

Angel-love hearing from you again !
You are a blessing !!
Thanks for the cooking post too!
Thanks for the encouragment!

Appreciate you .