“Then Jesus answered and said: ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. … But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:30-34, NKJV).
Jesus told this parable in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” in Luke 10. By doing so, He was turning the tables on His questioner, laying bare the man’s indifference to the cruel or dehumanizing treatment of others.
As I read this text, my heart is troubled to think that we—myself included—might not respond as the Good Samaritan did. We must never be as callous as the original questioner, overly busy or, worse yet, purposely blind to the plight of those around us. We cannot turn our heads and walk away untouched by what we see.
For example, in recent months, we’ve witnessed an alarming rise in violence toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our country fueled by hate, and even biased references related to the COVID virus.
Not only do we renounce the actions stemming from this discrimination, prejudice and fear, but we also commit to standing with those who are hurting. This commitment involves proactive solidarity. Creating space in our hearts and our spheres of influence for another person’s grief acknowledges their humanity. It validates their experience and says, “I am with you.” Even if our experience is different from theirs—even when we don’t completely understand—we can be there. Standing with someone in sorrow isn’t about firsthand knowledge. It’s about presence, showing up without turning away.
We begin by focusing on empathy. Why is that so crucial? Because from empathy flows compassion, and from compassion, kindness. It is the kindness of God in us that most often expresses as love in action. The Good Samaritan is a perfect example of someone who turns empathy into loving action. He refuses to look away from cruelty and injustice. Instead, he crosses the road of racial hatred to embrace its pain, bandage its wounds and leverage his resources to heal its victim. Will I do the same? Will you? We already have the answer. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise” (v. 37).
So, I invite you to step out in loving action with me until such a day when these words of prayer are no longer needed:
God, help us to obey Jesus’ command, and may we continually bathe our obedience in prayer. Holy Spirit, lead us to discover how our Foursquare family might become a more perfect reflection of Christ within a hurting and broken world that longs for Your justice. Help us to listen with open hearts to our brothers and sisters who suffer. May we learn with them how best to resist the evils of racism. We commit to keeping Jesus at the center of our vision of justice. Lord, let our motives be pure, untainted by the world’s cultural values, political ideologies—or, worse yet—its hatred, violence and rage.
With Jesus at the center, may we do justice from truth, mercy and love alone.
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