What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”
Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37 (CEB)
In a week when we focused so much on welcoming the stranger, it’s easy to find ways that our view of the world needs to expand. We can very easily get into the habit of seeing the stranger as “the other” without thinking of a stranger as a real person who is just as complex, with just as many emotions and experiences as we do.
And the story of the Good Samaritan is an excellent example for us of the need to see the other – just as the Samaritan did. But we also need to consider the possibility that sometimes we are the stranger. It may be that Jesus was asking the legal expert to identify with the Samaritan, but Jesus also may have been asking the expert to see himself in the man who was robbed.
Sometimes we need to humble ourselves and admit that we don’t have the answers. Sometimes we need to be willing to receive love from people that we thought we were called to love.
There’s a danger with a mission experience that a person comes home and thinks about all the great things they were able to do for those less fortunate. And while those are good things, if we leave having learned nothing from those people we served, we leave incomplete. We need to prepare each day, as we look for people to show God’s love to, to also be open to the possibility that God is trying to show us love through someone else. Be prepared to receive love, just as you offer it to others.
In what ways have you felt like the stranger – even in your own community? In what ways can you receive love from people at the same time that you offer it to them?
God who sends us and walks with us, help me to see the places where I can live out the example you have given me in Christ