This morning I re-read the parable of the Good Samaritan. To summarize the story for those who are not familiar with it, a traveller, probably a Jew, is is brutally beaten, stripped and left for dear on the road. This is not just a robbery or a mugging. The thieves stole the man’s dignity along with his possessions. People pass by the road, but avoid the man. These include some ‘holy men’ – a priest and a Levite. Finally, a Samaritan comes by and takes care of the man, going to the extent of finding him lodging until he recovers. While this might be seen as a story of kindness, it is also a story of standing up for other people – especially the weak and vulnerable.
Standing Up For Other People
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s final mountaintop speech looked closely at the Good Samaritan. He came to the conclusionthat the Priest and Levite may have been afraid of the robbers and their fear prevented them from helping the man. “If I stop what will happen to me?” But the Samaritan asked himself, “If I don’t stop what will happen to him.”
Dr King said that not only was injustice perpetrated against the injured man, but further injustice was served as good men did nothing but walk past.
We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s road side, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. Compassion sees that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.– Rev. Martin Luther King
All over the world there’s injustice and terrible violence being perpetuated against individuals, communities, tribes and countries. In India, at present, there are terrible atrocities being commited against people of minority religions, especially Muslims. I realize that I must raise my voice against this. I must stick out my neck, go out of my comfort zone and stand up for those who have no one to speak of them.
I’m closing with a prayer of Mother Teresa, praying for justice.
O God, we pray for all those in our world who are suffering from injustice:
For those who are discriminated against because of their race, color or religion;
For those imprisoned for working for the relief of oppression;
For those who are hounded for speaking the inconvenient truth;
For those tempted to violence as a cry against overwhelming hardship;
For those deprived of reasonable health and education;
For those suffering from hunger and famine;
For those too weak to help themselves and who have no one else to help them;
For the unemployed who cry out for work but do not find it.
We pray for anyone of our acquaintance who is personally affected by injustice.
Forgive us, Lord,
if we unwittingly share in the conditions or in a system that perpetuates injustice.
Show us how we can serve your children and make your love practical by washing their feet.
In October, I started writing a series called 31 Days about Living A Principle Driven Life. Since I wasn’t able to complete it then, I’m doing so now. You can follow my posts here.