Tag Archives: compassion for the poor

Some more excuses of not-so-good Samaritans


like JesusI offer a few more suggested excuses for being less than ideal Samaritans

  • “I don’t have time to help so-called ‘underserved’ people. I’m too busy just trying to raise my family and pay the mortgage.”

It says that the Samaritan came across the dying man “as he traveled.” He must have been on his way somewhere. The Jericho Road, colloquially called “The Bloody Pass” wasn’t anyone’s destination. You didn’t go there for a picnic and to see the sights. He found the victim while on his way to someplace else.

That’s where we may, if we care to notice, run into a lot of our divine appointments, on our way somewhere else. In order to meet the man’s need the Samaritan had to be willing to stop and be late to his next appointment. Maybe his lateness would cost him a contract or the ire of a customer or friend, but the bleeding man lying in front of him had a greater need than his need to be on time to wherever he was otherwise supposed to be. Continue reading


Some excuses of not-so-good Samaritans

like JesusWe’ve established that, even if Jesus didn’t exactly intend his parable to point directly to the kind of Samaritan he would be, he would make an “Ideal Samaritan.” Looking at the way he treats thrashed people, if we’re honest, we see how far we are from that ideal and might even consider ourselves “Inadequate Samaritans.” In order to lower the volume on our nagging conscience we concoct some pretty creative excuses for our inadequacy. If you happen to be shopping for some fresh new alibis for being more, less like Jesus than more, more like Jesus you might try on one of these for size.

  • “How do I know they’re deserving of my help?”

Can you see Jesus saying this to the Father? “OK, I’ll go and I’ll sacrifice myself, but not for those who don’t deserve it! I only want to die for those who are eligible, who were total victims and didn’t get themselves in the trouble they’re in. I don’t want to waste my blood on the undeserving.” Continue reading

The Ideal Samaritan

They were talking about the greatest command of all when Jesus revealed to the loophole seeking Bible scholar how he rolled as a God-and-people-lover. I think, with the Samaritan story, Jesus was, in essence, saying, “Here’s how I love my Father and my neighbors. I go out of my way to serve them.” like Jesus

Though I can’t claim with certainty that Jesus necessarily intended us to view him as “The Samaritan” in his story, you have to admit the parallels are striking. I don’t know about you, but when Jesus found me, I was robbed and beat down by the Sin, Satan, and the System. Religion did nothing for me but pass me by on the other side of the road. But, of all people, this unexceptional Man of love picked me up, tended my wounds, brought me to a therapeutic community for recovery, and paid the tab.

To elaborate… Continue reading

Being More or Less Like Jesus

 The other day I asked someone if he was a Christian. “More or less,” he replied. I asked him if it was more “more” or more “less.” He admitted he was more less than more more.like Jesus

I am trying to be more, more like Jesus. My guess is that you are too. So, what does that look like? How would we know if we’re very much or very little like him? Would we know by how seldom we cuss or drink too much or how many Sundays of the month we go to church? Maybe, but if you ask me, there are more reliable criteria by which we can assess our Christlikeness.

Remember the guy, who, in an attempt to trap Jesus, asked him how he could get eternal life? As he often did Jesus turned the question back on the so-called expert in biblical law, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The man knew the standard distillation – love God more than anything else and neighbors as much as yourself – but like many believers well versed in the Bible’s essentials he wondered where he might locate a loophole of some kind. With wry smile he replied, “Yeah, but who exactly are these neighbors I have to love?” In other words, how can I do as little as possible to clear the Limbo bar? Continue reading

On being neighborly (Who do I have to love and how much?) Part 3 of 5ish

love your neighbor“Regardless of their record or character, all human beings have an irreducible glory and significance to them, because God loves them.” Timothy Keller

“The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.” C. S. Lewis

Neighborly: Characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, kind, obliging, helpful, hospitable, civil, generous…

In Parts 1 and 2 we’ve been looking at our call to neighborliness and just how far one has to go to respond to it. Who do I have to love and how? It seems to me that some of us are confused about this. We’re pretty good about loving our families, not God-awful with the way we treat the people in our own churches, somewhat shoddier with those in other churches, and then less than that with those who live in the square mile around our homes. But when it comes to those from “bad neighborhoods” or emaciated people from other countries it seems to be in vogue to be, let’s just say, woefully inhospitable, if not outright inhumane. Continue reading

On being neighborly (Who do I have to love and how much?) Part 1 of 5ish

love your neighborWe cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. Herman Melville

Neighborly: Characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, kind, obliging, helpful, hospitable, civil, generous…

Right up there with “The Lord is my shepherd” is “Love your neighbor as yourself” as Top Ten Bible quotes. My musing about this one sent me to look up virtually all the passages about loving “neighbors” – some of them commonly known and others more obscure.

I’m going to give away my thesis now, to provoke you either to click over to something easier on the conscience or to proceed with caution. Warning! I might offend your American Christian individualism ideology by poking it with a sharp Scripture stick. Continue reading