Jesus answered in a parable as He frequently did. He told the story of the Good Samaritan.
The Priest and the Levite passed by this bloody, broken man lying in the dust along the road. There were other, pressing things on their minds as they hurried by. On the other hand, a Samaritan did stop to help. Samaritans were often despised and mistreated by the cultures around them. This Samaritan likely had to 'push through' his own feelings around this . . . like fear, maybe anger at being unjustly treated, maybe uncertainty or even just a sense of not having time for this.
This Good Samaritan showed a great deal of kindness for this Jewish man by setting aside 'natural' feelings and choosing to help. He took time to wash his wounds and care for him. He then took him to an inn and paid for care before he went on his way . . . offering more as needed when he returned.
"We live in a world that has a hard time setting aside grudges or past hurts to help another person." A person whom GOD loves.
I've heard it said that 'kindness is work in overalls." This is true. Caring can become costly in several ways.
Who is your neighbor? We walk or drive past people many times who are begging for helps . . . coins or food. They are wrecked, beaten by circumstances . . .
We continuously debate the issue of homelessness in our community. Many of us have even said or heard . . . "Not in my neighborhood!"
It is hard, messy work that takes time and money and care and hope and vision. These types of neighbors would not be classified as 'easy.'
Another more hidden population of neighbors are seniors and/or people who are disabled. Often they are somewhat isolated because of mobility issues or other health reasons. We have received several calls since Christmas from people in this situation. We try and call each one once a week. This is so minimal . . . Again, who is your neighbor?
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 27).
Are we more like the Priest and Levite or are we more like the Good Samaritan? Are we showing mercy to each one we encounter versus only to those we like? What kind of story are we writing with the actions within our daily life?
As the conversation ended, the lawyer answered Jesus, "The one who showed mercy was the neighbor." And Jesus replied, "GO and do likewise."