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What I think the Good Samaritan is actually about 
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The story, for reference:
Luke 10:25-37 wrote:
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘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.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The message here about mercy is obvious. So obvious I don't even want to go more into it!

But one thing that recently came to my mind when I read this is the framing. This isn't just Jesus telling a story. This is Jesus following up on the greatest commandment. More specifically, this is Him answering the question, "Who is my neighbor?" What made me think of this was imagining how a lot of Christians seem to make their neighbors people who are easy to love. They live around other Christians, they only are friends with their same political party on Facebook, they generally live in mono-racial communities, and so on. What Jesus is doing here is emphasizing that your neighbor is even the type of person you're most put off by. Samaritans were absolutely despised. Even if you didn't consciously hate Samaritans you wouldn't want one moving next door. But here Jesus is saying that's your neighbor too. So rather than just thinking about the Good Samaritan, imagine if it was something else. The Good Muslim. The Good Trump Supporter. The Good Gang Member. The Good Health Insurance CEO. Whoever it is that's hard to love, Jesus had a parable specifically for you to love them. Remember just who your neighbor really is.


Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:40 pm
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Even though I completely agree with your reasoning and I think it's a very Christian view (I don't want to detract from that), there is an important difference between the parable and your conclusion: the Samaritan was not the one being cared for, he was the caregiver. He cared for someone that would, probably, have taken a detour if that would mean he wouldn't have to be in the Samaritan's presence.

I think the parable is not about caring for the people despised by the world, which should be obvious, but caring for the people that despise *us* specifically.

... and that's a tough one. Can't say I'm very good at that...

"If I could look beyond your face / and photograph your hidden place, / would I find you smiling in the picture?" K's Choice -- Almost Happy

Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:33 am
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I recognize that, but I think that's still part of why Jesus was highlighting it. Being neighbors goes both ways, after all. Not specifically "you should love people you might hate" but rather "people you might hate are still your neighbors." (And of course that you should love them.)

That's also a good thing to emphasize, though! There's a lot in this one parable.


Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:32 am
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I just thought I'd add that this is exactly how the parable was taught and explained to us at the church and school I attended. :)

The problem is that we need to be *reminded* of this moral too often.

Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:17 am
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