By Cherry Simpson
My grandchildren know the answer to this question, “What is love?” They will all answer in unison, “It’s an action.” Nana Cherry has taught them true love isn’t cheap, by nature, it’s sacrificial. Its not just saying you love someone, it’s showing him or her by sacrificing for them. You put them before yourself and you do all you can to help them be the best they can be.
In our dining room hangs an antique print by Hogarth called “The Good Samaritan.” My husband and I purchased this on our first trip to London and it has often been a subject we’ve discussed with our grandchildren. They know this story as do all of us, but how often have you really met one? How often have you really been one? To love like that Good Samaritan isn’t easy, it means going outside of our comfort zone. It means not judging, it means being able to see beyond the divisions of this world to love whoever is in need and giving them what is for their good. It means letting God overrule our fears with his love and promise.
“Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:18
In the story a victim of crime lays naked, wounded and half-dead in a ditch along side a road. Two men walked by him. Two men who were suppose to be upright and good. What do you suppose went through their minds? They might have thought the victim must have done something to deserve being there. The robbers might still be near by; their lives could be in jeopardy. Helping would mean risking much.
Why didn’t the Samaritan didn’t think twice about helping the victim. He was an outcast, he knew what it was like to be discriminated and persecuted, just because of his race. He became the example of true love. What made him sympathetic to the victim’s plight?
Could you do this? Have you...risked much, to help someone who lives outside your comfort zone? Could you help a victim of domestic violence? It’s easy to argue it’s not a good idea to get involved. She’ll just go back again. People will think you’re crossing a line with your good intentions. You could be called a troublemaker. You’ve never known a criminal before. It could be dangerous.
Many times we read and hear about women and children who were sexually abused and some killed. How did this happen? Why didn’t CPS do something? Why didn’t the OP stop the abuser? Why didn’t more people report the abuse or try to help? How many family members even think of domestic violence or sexual assault as a slur on their name? Many think victims of domestic violence choose to be abused. We all shutter when we hear of a child abuse. How many of us would call or try to help? Some say, “It doesn’t do any good anyway. CPS never does what they’re supposed to do. Its their fault not mine!”
“Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37
Some people are self-righteous and comfortable about how they treat others, especially family and friends. “There’s a little bit of Pharisee in all of us.” That’s why Jesus set the demand of God’s law before the Jewish expert, “Do it and you will live.” And that is why; we’re to love like that Good Samaritan.
It’s easier to do nothing and then pride ourselves in safe acts of charity, patting ourselves on our backs and assuring ourselves that God is happy with us, when the truth is that most of our acts of charity cost us very little. Unfortunately in this world a real act of self-sacrifice and active concern is as scarce as precious gems.
There once was a psychology study done by a Professor, he decided to put the Good Samaritan story to the test. In different locations he put a person in a simulated “trouble” situation - lying in a doorway, in a gutter, and slumped over a table. He observed the reactions of passersby for an hour. Of the 236 persons almost 100 did nothing but pass by, ignoring what they saw. Only ten offered help. None were as considerate as the Good Samaritan.
What would you have done? If someone came to you with bruises and black eyes. Would you help her? Or would you find reasons not to get involved? The Good Samaritan over came his fear with compassion. God tells us to go and do likewise. True love is costly, it’s self sacrificing, giving of oneself to all people. In some cases the loving thing might be to call 911 or child protective services. Or offer shelter and encouragement to a victim of abuse. We should truly give help when it is needed and don’t look for excuses to satisfy our own selfish desires not to.
What victim rhetoric does Jesus use in his parable to show us which of these three men acted accordingly? We are to love like that Good Samaritan and offer help whatever the cost might be. Why should we do that? Because we are blessed, with eyes to see and given a heart moved to help those who maybe in trouble. We’re motivated gladly to love, like that Good Samaritan because of God’s love for us.
How much happier our world would be if there were more Good Samaritans. We can’t change the world, but we can work to change ourselves. And concentrate our efforts on helping others in our own lives. Dear God, let us love like that Good Samaritan, and go and do likewise. Amen.
I was moved to write this post because of the act of self-sacrifice by William L. Jackson, of Denton, TX who generously gave $500 to Help Solve Lacey Gaines’ Murder. Even though he never knew my niece Lacey, somehow he felt connected. His act of love has given me hope. I thank God for him and those who can show love like that Good Samaritan!