Many of us are familiar with the parable of the Good Samaritan and the background reason why Jesus shared the parable in Luke 10:25-37. The phrase "Good Samaritan" has been used for ages as a common phrase when describing a person who goes out of his way to help another. There are a lot of learning point in this parable but there is one truth that prevail that is we need to love our neighbours as ourselves. The Samaritan saw his neighbour as anyone who was in need. In this parable, the injured man was a total stranger and he might even be a Jew, the very people that hated the Samaritan. The Jews despised the Samaritans so much that they would not have sat at the same table with them and even tried to avoid speaking to them.
The Good Samaritan story teaches us about Agape love. A love that cares even for our enemies and the people we really can’t stand. We are called to a radical love. A love that goes the extra mile, even in the literal sense when necessary. A love that does not retaliate, but responds with kindness. I believe that is what makes Christian different, or at least, that is what it supposes to be.
In 1994, a fifth-grade class at Lake Elementary School in Oceanside, California made headlines when the boys in the class decided by themselves to shave their heads. They did so, without embarrassment, because one of their own, Ian O'Gorman, developed cancer and had undergone chemotherapy. His hair began to fall out. To make their friend feel at home, to feel one with the crowd, all his classmates agreed to shave their heads, so that upon his return, Ian would not stand out from the class. No one would know who the "cancer kid" was. In fact even their class teacher was so moved by the spirit of his class he too shaved his head.
Agape love is about sacrifice. It is about sacrificing our convenience for the convenience of others who are in need. The Good Samaritan had to adjust his plans in order to help the wounded man. It causes him his time, his money and maybe even an opportunity to strike a business deal. In fact it was risky decision that he made especially knowing the road that he is travelling is full of danger.
From the parable above we can also learn that Agape love is about loving others indiscriminately. It can be inconvenient and sometimes risky. And it requires our time and can be expensive. The Samaritan had performed a neighbourly act when two religious leaders had failed in their responsibility. Are Christians to be "do-gooders"? Yes, I suppose. But our motivation for doing good must be love for others, an interest in meeting their basic needs, a heart of mercy that is moved by compassion. And that is only through Agape Love.
At the end of the parable, Jesus commands the legal expert to "Go and do likewise". And this command is still valid today. We are told to "Go and do likewise". We are approaching Christmas soon and it is a time of giving. Why not do something different this year. Maybe go the extra to bless someone who is in need. I love what the Apostle John taught, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:17-18). Go and do likewise.