30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." (Luke 10:30-37. ESV.)
I posted a video, last month, of a boy, perhaps a preteen or teenager, who appeared to be homeless. He wore a ripped short sleeve shirt, no jacket, no shoes and held a garbage bag to keep warm. Visibly he is young, not an adult. The weather was five degrees Fahrenheit and this boy was clearly freezing. He was like the man who had been stripped and beaten on his way to Jericho.
Those in need, however, do not always look the part. There are people who are homeless, individuals who are fighting against cancer and chronic illness, human beings who live with a dangerous person in their life, people who live in an unsafe neighborhood, individuals who are physically stripped and beaten, or emotionally stripped and beaten, or verbally stripped and beaten…and yet, most of us may not be like the robbers…but are like the priest and Levite. We may not be the one “robbing” and “beating” others but we are also not stopping to help. We walk on the opposite side of the road as if with blinders on our eyes.
Though, I feel each of us has suffered at one time or another. Each of us knows the sting of being “robbed” and “beaten”. So then, where is our empathy and compassion? Why is our first instinct to ignore, to blame the “man who was beaten”, to assume, to jump to conclusions, to say, “Well, that will never happen to me,” or “I’m too busy,” and to pass by on the other side of the road?
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:35-40. ESV.)