He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. Luke 10:34
It is all too easy to simply look the other way when we walk past a homeless person on the street or ignore a phone call or text message when a friend needs help because we do not want to be burdened. It is even easier to do so when you do not like the person who needs something from you. In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus uses a story to explain the importance of caring for others especially when it is someone we may not get along with.
A Jewish man was attacked by robbers while he was walking to town one day. They beat him, took his clothes and money and left him for dead. A priest happened to walk by, but when he saw the man lying on the road, he simply kept walking. Next, a Levite came across the man on the road but ignored him too. Lastly, a Samaritan – sworn enemy of the Jews – walked past the man. This time, however, the Samaritan stopped. Without thinking twice, the Samaritan took out oil and bandages to heal the man’s wounds, lifted him onto his donkey and walked him to a nearby inn to get some rest. The Samaritan paid for the man to sleep and be taken care of for several nights.
Jesus asked his listeners, “Who was the true neighbor?” Not the priest, who should show compassion like Christ; not the Levite, who held a high status as a temple official and should lend a helping hand; but the Samaritan, who had every right as an enemy of the Jews to turn the other way but instead ran toward the man. The Samaritan was a good neighbor because he disregarded their political history and the status of the man and showed him love by simply meeting his needs.
We can show this same love by caring for those around us through both our words and actions. Meeting simple needs is one way to show others we care, whether it is helping our sibling with their chores or offering to bring a friend dinner when they are sick. We can be a good neighbor like the Samaritan when we run towards people in need rather than away from them.
Questions to think about:
- Who is someone in your life that is hard to love?
- What is a need that this person has?
- What is something you can do to meet that need and show them you care?