04 February 2012

The Good Samaritan

I read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 and find the Priest and Levite’s behavior a complete abomination. How could they walk passed a dying man like that? Well, I walked passed those that are in need around me every day.

The reality of the matter is that the easiest thing I can ever do is not get involved. It’s costly to help those in need. It takes time and it takes money. What would seem to be an active process, namely walking past a man lying on the ground motionless, is actually the easiest thing to do. What would seem natural and human, is in fact the very opposite. Getting involved is the real active process. And it’s a shame. It’s a shame that I don’t get involved.

We pass by the needy all the time: Those lunatics who stretch out their empty hands towards us at bus stops, the street kids we drive past on the roads, the blind men and women who sit on the corridors and streets, the dirty and weird looking people who enter our church buildings and ask for aid after the service, the men and women who fill the beds in the public hospitals, the janitors and care takers at our schools and places of work, etc. We pass them by. And we have good reasons too. Most of them are con artists and thieves, and so we choose not to get involved. Others are lazy, so we refrain from giving them alms as if that’s the only way we can help. Some push us away and we walk off saying, “Well, I tried.” Other excuses are just plain poor, “I’m too busy.” For too many of us, the thought of helping never crosses our mind and the mere thought of it is repulsive. Most of us don’t even see these people.

The Priest and Levite who I loathe, stare right back at me when I look in the mirror. We are the Priests and Levites. We are in positions to help but for reasons good and bad, will not. We don’t care.

As long as we don’t want to do it, they’ll always be an excuse. As long as we want to do it and do not, we will never. It is in that day that we fold our sleeves and do something that we will become that Good Samaritan. Anything short of that and we are either the Priest or Levite.

What can a mere person do? I'm not sure. But one thing is sure: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Thank God the Good Samaritan had the will.