The Samaritans were essentially the offspring of the dispersed nation of Israel who had intermarried and assimilated into their surrounding culture. In Jesus’ time they were the outcasts of society. They worshiped in the wrong way and were a “bad influence” on the Jewish children.
If you are a Republican, the Samaritans would represent the “flaming liberals.” If you are a Democrat, they would represent the extreme fundamentalists. They were on the wrong side.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus went so many steps further then what we would expect.
You would expect the story to include a Jewish Priest helping a Jewish man. If you took it a step further it would be a Jewish man helping a wounded Samaritan. But Jesus literally shocks his audience when he portrays the outcast coming to the aid of a Jewish man.
The other night ABC News conducted a modern day “Good Samaritan” test. A paid actor sat in a park and pretended to cry. Hidden cameras were rolling. Many people responded, many more did not. However, one woman’s response to the man was so gracious that even the paid actor and the journalist began to tear up.
There is something so powerful about this parable – even today it resonates within our hearts.
At the same time there is something in our culture that causes us to forget about the power of this story in our everyday lives. I call it the “Seinfeld Effect.” On the final episode of the show, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer all went to jail for breaking the “Good Samaritan Law.” The trial revealed how selfish they had been throughout the entire show, and we just laughed at it all along the way.
But we are called to “love kindness” (Micah 6:8)
It is interesting that the despised Samaritan is the one who had compassion. Out of the three men that passed by, only the Samaritan personally understood injustice and abuse. Only he could empathize.
God can use the pain and hurt in our lives to help us be kind to others.
Do you love kindness?