The Parable of the Good Samaritan Teaches Us About Compassion
In Luke’s Gospel, we hear Jesus tell the story of the Good Samaritan in answer to the question: “Who is my Neighbor?”. The story begins with an unknown man being beaten and robbed as he traveled out of Jerusalem. A priest and a Levite both pass by the injured traveler and offer no assistance. These men, both professional religious, could have been seen as otherwise good guys but in this instance, neither let their faith guide their actions. The parable teaches us that Compassion should be an extension of our faith.
The next person to pass the injured man was a Samaritan. Now, Jews considered Samaritans to be of a low class. They never would have said ‘good’ and ‘Samaritan’ in the same sentence, but it was the Samaritan who was ‘moved by compassion’ to help the traveler. He didn’t just feel bad for the guy. Helping was something he just couldn’t avoid doing. The parable teaches us that Compassion compels us to action.
The Samaritan did not know if the man was a Jew or a Gentile or anything. He helped the man because he was in need, not because he could help him back someday or because he was worth it. The parable teaches us that Compassion is based on need, not perceived worth, race, or creed.
Everything that the Samaritan did for the injured man cost him something. It took time to take care of him and get him to an inn. The man used his own wine and oil on the wounds. He had to use something he had with him to bind the wounds – his own clothing, perhaps? The parable teaches us that Compassion will cost us something and it may not be convenient.
What are your thoughts as you reflect?