Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Diary of a Beautiful Relationship : Partie 1

What I love about the Bible is how I learn something new and interesting every time I read it. No matter how many times I read a passage, there's always some fresh insight, a gem of understanding imparted to me. I've been reading the Bible, since, when since I learned how to read, and even passages that I've read a million times are still new and fresh, especially when God points out something I never noticed before.

Like the story of the Good Samaritan for example. When I was handed out the passage at my Bible study; the first thought that shot through my mind (I'm ashamed to say) was, " I've read this a gazillion times already!"

As usual, God shocked me by opening my mind to something I had not noticed before, though, like I said, I'd read the passage to rags ( or so I thought).

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
 25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
 26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
 27He 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'[c]; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[d]"
 28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
 29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
 30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[e] 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.'
 36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
 37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
      Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

What struck me more forcibly this time round, was the Samaritan's behaviour. He did several things that demonstrated true love and servility.

1). He empathised with the wounded man. Instead of condemning him, saying " He brought this on himself," he " felt pity for him (verse 33).

2). He acted on his emotions. Instead of indulging in a brief fit of histrionics, and then moving on, the Samaritan instead "went to him"(verse 34).

3). He tended to his most immediate physical needs first by bandaging his wounds (v34).

4). He was generous with his possessions, using his oil and wine to heal the man's wounds and loading him on his own donkey.

5). He provided him with shelter (verse 35).

6). He made future provision for him (v35).

This, then is what loving your neighbor looks like.
" So who is my neighbor?" one of my friends asked. We decided that the answer was everyone. Everyone is my neighbor, regardless of social status or wealth. As I read over the story of the Samaritan, I was arrested by Jesus' last words.

" Go and do likewise."

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