Monday, January 23, 2017
The Good Samaritan Parable for 2017
30 Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. 31 Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. 32 Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. 33 A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. 34 The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day, he took two full days’ worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, ‘Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs.’ 36 What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”
37 Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (CEV)
I think we sometimes miss the magnitude of the story. The Jews and Samaritans hated each other. It would be similar to the Muslims and Jews today, or the Democrats and Republicans.... yet this man who was an enemy is the one who stopped to help the man lying by the road.
Now what if this story was told today by Jesus here in America? Replace the Samaritan with a Republican, and the hurt man by the road with Hillary Clinton or one of the women who just marched on Washington..... or Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, one of the gay men protesting outside of Mike Pence's home.....if you were that Republican, what would you do? Would you think something like "they deserve it!" "Good for the pervert!", or something else along that line? Would you pass by on the other side of the road and avert your eyes? Would you stop and help the injured person, take them for help and use your hard earned money to help an enemy?
I have felt for some time that we Christians here in America don't get it. We don't truly live as Christians should. Think about this as I get political for a second:
Right now it is very unpopular to criticize the man in the White House. Christians who voted for him love to toss up Bible verses to remind people what the Bible says in regards to leaders. Now stay with me, I have a point to make, and it may not be popular:
As Christians living by the Bible, and who believe that all of the Bible is inspired, do we have any more right to speak out against those who we don't support or agree with than those we do?
Here is a list of people very unpopular among conservatives, and who many of us freely criticize and speak our mind of:
The women who just marched on D.C.
The gay people who protested outside of Mike Pence's home....and any militant gay people.
The women of The View
Muslims...including refugees and terrorists
Now think on this: if it is wrong to speak harshly of the man in the White House using the verses people use to make that point, is it not then wrong to speak harshly of the people I listed.... and the many others in this world who we consider evil and wrong? Are we to just love those who agree with us? Are we to just be Christian towards those who treat us well? When Jesus says to love our neighbor, does that exclude the people on the list above? When we are exhorted to speak well of all men, does that mean we can ignore that if the person is not of our political or religious ideology?
God loves all of these people, and offers salvation and forgiveness to all of them. We are commanded to love even them...... and can we do that if we are posting things against them? We are all too guilty of using the Bible to our advantage. Criticize a leader we support, and we can quote Bible verses at you. But then we feel free to do the same with those we disagree with. Is that right? Is it Christian? Does it please God?
And yeah, I get it.... we need to know what politicians stand for and against. We don't want to vote someone in who is going to turn our country over to communism and abolish all of our freedoms..... but can't we discuss the policies and stands of politicians without personally attacking people?
I know, I am one to talk.....but we are all guilty.....well, a lot of us, maybe not all. I know of people who never post anything about politics, whether it be a politician, someone on The View, or anything else along that line....... but a lot of us feel free to speak harshly of liberals, gay people, illegal immigrants, and others.
Could it be we are too easily offended by these people? Could it be we don't trust God enough, so we have to make sure everyone knows how bad these people are? Or could it be we are so addicted and focused on our comforts and freedoms that we feel we must do anything to protect them..... up to and including character assassination? Do we really believe the Bible when it says to love our enemies? Do we truly practice that?
Who is our neighbor? Newsflash: it is more than those in our political party and those who love and agree with us. It is everyone......no matter how good or bad they are.