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. 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, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins 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."
Jesus, You are the Perfect Teacher!
Thank you for teaching me who my neighbors are! They are the people around me who have been stripped of their dignity. Kicked by random acts of cruelty, punched by persistent problems, and knocked unconscious by bullies, their spirits have been left to disgracefully die.
Forgive me for all the times I've:
Teach me to be merciful like the Samaritan who was the smallest among all of these men, yet had the biggest heart. Please remove the scales from my eyes and show me an injured soul today - someone who is different from me in race, creed, or social background. I will stop and nurse their wounds no matter the cost. With corrected vision, I will see interruptions as divine opportunities to show Your love to people in distress. May mercy flow like a river through me because of Your amazing love. Amen.
Open your eyes and look for someone to share the love of Christ with in a practical way today whether it's convenient or not.
Amanda was stripped of her dignity. Her domineering father kicked her around as a kid. Her mother was a social butterfly flitting from friend to friend leaving Amanda and her sister at home to do the laundry, cooking and cleaning. While she worked tirelessly to please her meticulous mother, she dreamed of marrying a pastor and becoming a missionary in a distant land.
At the age of 23 her dream came true when she married Mike, a pastor who was preparing to be a missionary in Zambia. But, before they embarked on their mission, he denounced his faith and abandoned her and their child for another woman. Single and penniless, she was punched by persistent problems as she raised their child alone.
Eventually, her only child grew up as children do, and deserted her mother for all the pleasures of this world - men, money, and materialism - putting a knife in her mother's heart that cut to the core. Left alone, Amanda was bloodied and beaten by life, unattractive and unpleasant to be around.
Her heart may have been hardened by life, but my heart was harder. Instead of stopping to help her, I heaped more hurt on her by walking away like the robber. Smug with my good life, I arrogantly passed her by like the Pharisees. Reasoning my lack of love, I talked to my pastor about her. He looked at me and with tear glazed eyes said, "Beth, she just needs someone to listen."
What I heard with my heart was, "She just needs Jesus." That's when I stopped, turned around, and brought her into my home. There over a cup of hot chocolate, I heard her story, nursed her wounds, and let mercy flow like a river.