Today, while re-reading the parable of the Good Samaritan, my heart broke for the man that was beaten and left for dead along the side of the road. I saw someone who got the short end of the stick, a raw deal, an untimely fate from which he could not escape on his own. I saw the religious preacher (and likewise a dutiful deacon) not merely ignoring him, but crossing to the other side of the street so he would not be able to be tainted by the man or his predicament.
And finally, we see the story’s hero… A man of a different race, political ideology, and religion swoop in to save the day. He cleans the man, bandages his wounds, puts clothes on him, puts him on the noble steed, and walks along side him to a place where he can once again tend to his needs. Knowing he is unable to stay for the duration of the man’s recovery, he provides the resources necessary to one who is in a position to do so and vows to return to fulfill any debt incurred.
Personally, I have always heard this described in a manner that suggested that the uber-religious only care for themselves, but that we should care for everyone, even people very different from us. I have seen that we need to give of ourselves and our resources to help even a stranger in need. But what I have not seen before is a person, beaten up one side and down the other by life, one the worst day they have ever known, rescued by a regular, everyday, average “Joe” who happen to have his heart in the right place… In the place of, “If that were me, what would I hope someone would do for me?”
Who knows if this man witnessed one or both of the other men (who were of similar nationality and religious beliefs) straight up avoid this man. But I have seen with my own eyes people who have been having a bad day (whether self-inflicted or not) not only ignored, but avoided by the religious. I can truthfully say, I have been the man on his worst day, I have been the religious guy avoiding the situation (usually assuming the person did something to deserve it), and I have been the guy that offered help.
Anyone with the Father’s heart will be that hero, that knight in shining armor, selflessly coming out of nowhere to save the day. It is not Father’s heart to “help those that help themselves” (which is not biblical, by the way), but to help those who need it, especially when they can’t do it themselves (regardless if they’ve done anything to deserve it).