The Good Samaritan

Openers

*Discussion* Do rapists, murders and child molesters deserve our kindness, why or why not? *Discussion* What qualities of a person make treating them with kindness easier and what qualities make it harder?

*Discussion* Is showing kindness to ALL people an essential or non-essential part of living out our faith?  Does a poor demonstration of kindness reflect a poorly exercised faith?

 

Main Points (Choose ONE)

1.      Showing kindness is not about determining if someone deserves it.  (v. 27, 36, 37)

2.      Nothing should keep us from showing kindness.  (v. 31, 32)

3.      Kindness is more than just acting ‘nice.’  It costs us something.  (v. 33-35)

Foundations

Luke 10:30-37 (NIV): In 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.  31 A 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 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.”

 

Context/Back Story

The story of the Good Samaritan is told by Jesus as an answer to a question from an “expert in the Law” (that is, someone who was considered an expert in the laws that God gave to Moses that all Jews were expected to follow) regarding who his neighbor might be (10:25-29).  The ‘expert’ was seeking to justify his behavior by getting Jesus to affirm that he (the expert) was a “good neighbor” to everyone he needed to be.  The story of the Good Samaritan demonstrates that anyone we encounter is our neighbor and consequently someone we should show kindness.

1. We should show kindness whether we think someone deserves it or not.    No details are given about the man’s ‘worthiness’ .  We know nothing about his politics, job title, good deeds or bad deeds.   These details are not given because none of them matter.   The closest thing we get to an assessment of his worthiness is a tidbit about the person who actually ended up helping the victim: 

There were all sorts of ethnic and religious tensions between Samaritans and Jews. There would be a lot of social pressure on a Samaritan to ignore the needs of a Jew—and vice versa.

The only condition that matters was clearly listedHe was in need.  Our kindness should be viewed similarly: give help to those who are in need, not to those who we somehow judge to be deserving.   No details are necessary to qualify people as recipients of kindnessIt is our opportunity be blind to people’s personality flaws, poor decisions, shady pasts and show them all kindness without reserve.   The fact that the people (Jews) listening to Jesus’ story probably would have refused to help the victim if he were a Samaritan make it all the more obvious that Jesus is bashing this sort of prejudice in who we help 

1. Nothing should keep us from showing kindness.

The priest and Levite allowed false religious piety to be their excuse for not showing kindness (v. 31,32)  What was their excuse?  See Lev. 22:1-9  They didn’t want to become ceremonially unclean, and thus unable to perform their duties at work.  These religious men valued their work responsibilities (which could be covered by someone else) above a human life.

People make a lot of excuses for not showing kindness and kid themselves into believing that they’re good excuses.  It should be obvious, though, that their excuses were LAME. Christ uses such a dramatic example, a man’s life hanging in the balance, to show the ridiculousness of allowing “things” to keep us from demonstrating kindness:  Prejudice, Selfishness, Personal hurts, Insecurity, Busyness

2.  Kindness is more than just acting ‘nice.’  It costs us something.

The Samaritan showed kindness in 9 ways (v. 33-35)

*He had compassion – He  allowed himself to be concerned about someone who had nothing to offer or benefit him.  He went to where the victim was

*He stopped his plans and made time for a detour

*He bandaged his wounds

*He cared for the immediate physical needs of the victim

*He poured on oil and wine

*He was as thorough as possible and made use of what he had. These were simple first aid tools.  Wine to clean the wound, Oil to mollify the wound and seal it

*He put him on his donkey

*He agreed to be uncomfortable in order to ease the victim’s pain, Took him to an inn

*He didn’t leave the deed incomplete

*He was willing to see it through, even though some people might have gone on their way and congratulated themselves on having done something

*He took care of the victim

*He gave of himself, and then gave more

*He committed to making a real solution, even though he knew it would be inconvenient.

*He paid the victim’s way

*Two silver coins = 2 days wages = the ransom for a life

*He offered to cover additional costs if needed

*He made an open-ended commitment—which isn’t ‘playing it safe’

*He didn’t treat the victim as a stranger, but as a brother

 

Human Struggles

Too often we show kindness only when the recipient is likely to return the kindness or has shown it to us in the past.

We let how someone looks or his/her status in life determine whether we will show kindness or not.

Selfishness is often our motivation for not showing kindness.

Overcoming our laziness or our prejudices is hard work and requires constant attention.

 

Application Helps

What things, if we are honest, keep us from showing kindness to ‘those people?’

Why might it be hard to show kindness to someone that has been hurtful to us in the past?  Should those reasons really disqualify them from our kindness?

What people are in need of our kindness that we may ordinarily overlook?

Is it really an excuse to refuse to help people because “Well, they got themselves into that mess!  I warned them!  They should have known better!”?  If there is a place for making boundaries or ground rules, how can we tell the difference between doing that and being like the priest and Levite?

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