“The Rich White Man” - Andrew Nishimoto
I recently heard a sermon about the Good Samaritan. If you have been around church for any amount of time, you probably have heard the story. In this sermon, the preacher was talking about the usual issues going on in the story. He reminded us that the religious leaders walked past the man beaten on the side of the road while the Samaritan man stopped and took care of the man. He reminded us that the Samaritan people were generally despised and seen as second-class citizens. He reminded us that the Samaritan, a second-class citizen, was the hero in the story and the example of a good neighbor. Generally, this is where we are challenged to "go and do likewise".
Normally, I love this passage. I have used this passage numerous times as my justification for judging the "religious people" and patting my back for the work we do at Kingdom Causes to love our neighbors. But, for some reason, this time was different. As the preacher was describing the story, I couldn't help but keep my gaze on the man that was beaten. I usually equate the beaten man with the marginalized people in my community. I think of the homeless, the imprisoned, the racial minorities, or other groups of people that this world has constantly and consistently cast aside. But this time, I had a different view of the beaten man.
The Samaritan is held as an example in this parable because he cared for someone who he was supposed to despise. I suddenly had an image in my mind of people in my life that I judge to be arrogant in their riches, those that I despise because of their ideologies that are different than mine. As someone who works in the field of community development, it’s somewhat “easy” for me to have the desire to care for the poor. What is not easy, is to care also for the rich.
I thought about some of the people in this world who have used their position of power to hurt or degrade others. People that may be materially rich but are morally bankrupt. The story of the Good Samaritan forces me to ask, “if one of these cruel, power hungry, privileged people were on the side of the road beaten...would I stop and help?” In the parable, Jesus does not describe the beaten man...He almost is intentionally vague about it. It is as if it shouldn't matter who the beaten man is.
For some of us the orphaned, homeless, widowed, and marginalized are difficult to love. For some of us, the white, rich, male, is difficult to love. The story of the good Samaritan makes it clear...we are called to show mercy to whoever we may come in contact with, and maybe especially those who are most difficult to love.
HOW TO PRAY:
Pray that God would soften your heart and give you compassion for the people in your life and in this community who are hardest to love
Luke 10:25-37 “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.’”
About the Author: Andrew Nishimoto is Deputy Director at Kingdom Causes Bellflower.