Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thoughts on the Good Samaritan

There was a recent thread on a discussion board that I frequent. It started with someone recounting a past event where they stopped to help a motorist in need. One person posted that they would never stop to help a stranger because it was too dangerous. Needless to say the discussion took off from there. This person was roundly, but not universally, criticized. His response was that it is a cold, hard world and he does what he needs to do to survive. He clearly was in the minority, although not a minority of one.

My initial response was one of pity. How could some be so hard and heartless to not help ones fellow man if it was reasonably possible. Such a mode of survival, selfishness to the extreme, sounds very dreary and depressing. Not much of a survival if you ask me.

Furthermore, would one not want someone to stop and help them, or a loved one, if they were in need? If one expects help then it seems only reasonable to be willing to do the same. Yes, there may be some danger in doing so but that is where being prepared comes into play.

As a Christian the story of the Good Samaritan is not just a story; it is an example to be followed to the best of our abilities. I'll be the first to admit that I don't always execute this as well as I could. However, that is very different from rejecting the whole concept as this person has apparently done.

In the end I concluded that there is no way for me to understand this person's perspective. His view of the world is so different from mine that it it makes interaction difficult on anything beyond a superficial level. In the end I decided not to engage directly with the heartless one and posted this to the original poster:
Bravo ...! As the good book says "as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me".

It also says "as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me". People make their own choices. If they can live, or not, with the consequences then so be it.

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