I have been thinking this week about examples of kindness that I have seen in the bible. I know there are plenty but for some reason it has been hard for me to think of one. But when I finally sat down to write and thought more about it, the story of the Good Samaritan came to mind. I think this is an amazing example of kindness and love and a story that challenged the social norms of the day.
If you don’t know the story you can find the whole thing in Luke 10:25-37. An expert in the law asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what was written in the law and how he interpreted it. The expert said it was about loving God and loving your neighbor, basically. He was correct! But to justify himself he asked Jesus who his neighbor was. And boy did Jesus answer – not how the man was hoping, but in the way Jesus knew was best for challenging his idea of a neighbor and the prejudice of the day. He proceeded to tell him this parable.
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. 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 he hands of robbers?Luke 10:30-36
This man who had been beaten and left for dead was passed over by all the obvious “good” people in society. But then a Samaritan, who was despised by the Jews, came by and he had compassion and was kind to the man. I think this is a challenge for all of us to see those who need help and share some kindness with them. We need to look past social norms and expected behaviors and be the hands and feet of Jesus. This reminds me of another passage.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.Luke 6:31-32
We can not just be kind to those who society already loves and is kind to, it is the ones that no one loves and society casts aside that need this sort of kindness. If you were the one beaten and left for dead wouldn’t you want someone to help you? Be the one who helps those who really need it.