Friday, July 29, 2016
Change of Perspective-The "Good" Samaritan
So often in life, our perspectives are skewed or completely distorted. We live in our perspectives and think they are right until God brings us to the point of seeing that we are wrong. The truth will always win out over the lies that we and the world around us wants to carve onto the walls of our souls. So, I am reading about the story of the Good Samaritan for unknown number of times and God shows another angle, another perspective that is so profound. So let me retell the story that Jesus told. A Jewish man was on his way to Jericho when he was overcome by robbers, robbed, striped of his clothing, beaten and left for dead by the side of the road. A priest comes down traveling on this same road, sees the beaten, naked man and hurries on. What might he have been thinking? I have too much to do once I get to Jericho to stop and help this man. Someone else will come along and take care of him. Or maybe he is thinking, I have to be at that meeting at noon and I cannot be late. Someone else will have to take care of this man. Well, someone else does come by. He is a Levite and when he sees the man, perhaps his thoughts take a different path. Maybe he starts to get anxious and starts searching around the area to see if the robbers are still nearby. He thinks, I don't know where the robbers are but this could have just happened and I don't want to end up in this same condition. His fear motivates him to start walking faster and he tries to keep to the other side of the road near the bushes where he hopefully won't be seen. Alas, another someone comes by. This time it is a Samaritan. Samaritans and Jews did not like each other, in fact, call it more like they hated each other, something like the Democrats hating the Republicans and vice versa. There was so much bad blood between them that the thought of a Samaritan stopping to help a Jewish man was unthinkable but in this story he does the unthinkable. Now, interestingly enough Jesus never specifically called him the Good Samaritan. That is a label we have put on this man. I think the label is fair enough but this new perspective might make you think otherwise. So, I have felt the perspective of the priest being too busy or I have some place to be and don't have time to stop and help someone in need. I have also been the Levite who was too fearful to step in and doing anything. I had never put myself in the position of the naked, beaten Jewish man on the side of the road. Imagine you are that man. You have had everything taken from you, you have been left naked in humiliation and you have been hurt not only physically but emotionally, mentally, within the deepest parts of your heart and soul. And then, Jesus comes by the road and sees you. He comes across the road to you. He takes you in his arms and carries you to an inn. He cleanses and bandages your wounds. He pays the innkeeper and tells him he will be back to take care of anything else. Jesus has gone above and beyond what this man needed. He did that for us when he came down from heaven, lived among us, died the brutal death on the cross and rose from the dead and came out of hell as a conqueror. When we die on the cross with him in our repentance and faith in him, than we too rise from the dead and become a new creation. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit given to inhabit us, live with us in the very own temple of our body. But we can still be swayed by the sinful nature that is in us. We can still choose to let our busyness or our own selfish motives drive our behaviors and lead us to not stopping to help someone in need. Or we can choose to cower in our fear and let it hold us back from doing what we know is the right thing to do, to help the person in need. Or we can allow the Holy Spirit to direct us, to give us the other-centered outlook and attitude, to give us the trust and courage to conquer our fears and do what Jesus would do. He wouldn't care who it was or what he may or may not have done. He would take care of the man. He would take care of you. Jesus concluded his story with the command, "go and do likewise". We have him within us to help us to be the "Good" Samaritan or, in other words and perspective, to be like Jesus.