A man was walking to his car which was parked on the street, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A Orthodox priest happened to be going down the same street, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Protestant minister, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But an American, as she was driving, came where the man was; and when she saw him, she took pity on him. She stopped her car, put him in and drove him to the local emergency room. She waited as the doctors treated him and once he was doing better, she took him to a hotel to heal and rest, and she cared for him that night as he slept. The next morning, she gave the hotel manager her credit card, instructed them to provide anything else the wounded man may need as he recovers and offered to pay for any additional expenses.
Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? Correct, the one who had mercy on him.
The American woman in this story allowed her day to be disrupted to help a fellow human. We don’t know where she was going or what she was doing, but it did not matter to her. Consciously or subconsciously, she prioritized her likeness, over differences, with the man and put his interests above her own.
What if the key to being brave and defying the divides that have formed with our families, friends, neighborhoods, communities and governments has something to do with forgetting ourselves? What if we hold our own stories with confidence and tenderness, appreciating what we’ve learned, but don’t consider them or our values the most important thing?
This American’s act of mercy symbolizes the journey of human-kindness: knowing and loving ourselves fully, honoring the hand life has dealt us, emptying ourselves for others, seeing joy and hurt and pain in every interaction, yet choosing to serve other people with humility, selflessness and kindness.
This is true neighborly love, a unity that rallies us together and calls us to pursue relational healing with a higher purpose, anchored by the freeing power of the good news of God’s grace. Please join me in the Neighborly Love Rewards Program where we can earn points by:
- Denying ourselves
- Showing compassion to the needy
- Treating our enemies kindly
- Giving generously
- Enduring difficult circumstances while trusting God
- Persevering under persecution
- Extending hospitality to the poor
At the end of our lives, the points earned can be redeemed for a, “Well done, good and faithful servant.“