Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Good Samaritan

Two years ago, John Ensor from Heartbeat International came to speak for a pro-life fundraiser.  He reminded us of the story of the Good Samaritan as our example for taking care of our neighbors. 

Luke 10:27-37--So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’
And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”  But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  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.  Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 

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. 
On the next day, when he  departed,] he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 

So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”  And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

What a great example we have from His Holy and perfect Word!  It's also a great example for bringing home the point of not ignoring the unborn!  Who are our neighbors?   Only the ones we SEE with our eyes every day?  Who is our neighbor?  Why should we care?  Jesus says so.  In the eyes of Jesus, our neighbor has value and we have value.  We are to see the value in them and love them in the way we love/value ourselves. 

In the series of Making Abortion Unthinkable by Scott Klusendorf and Greg Koukl, they make the case for seeing the unborn baby as a human.  First they ask, "What is the unborn?"  If the unborn are not human, then no justification for abortion is necessary. If the unborn are human, then no justification for abortion is adequate.

I am not very tall.  There are basketball players, football players and there are people who have won records for being the tallest reported in Guiness Book of Records.  Are all these people who are taller and who may weigh more than I do more valuable?   My neighbor down the street has 3 little girls.   Am I more valuable than they are?   Is size a good reason to kill another person? 

As I shared before, I have a thyroid condition which causes me to take medication daily.  If I were to stop, serious complications could ensue and cause distress for not only my well-being but would also upset my family.  I had an great-uncle who had a pacemaker and I have friends who are dependent on canes, oxygen tanks, heart medication and dialysis.  Am I of more value (even on medication) than the friend on dialysis?  Is the man who isn't dependent on a pacemaker more valuable than the person who is?  What about the people who were in iron lungs because of polio?  Should we kill a person based on the fact that they need to be dependent on something or someone for their daily survival?

I am an adult and my parents are now in their 70's.  Are they more valuable than I am because they are older than I am?  What about the toddlers in my church nursery?  Are they less valuable because they are just learning to walk and talk?  Is the elementary student less valuable than a teenager?  These are all stages of life.  Right now I am an adult but at one time I was an embryo, a fetus (Latin for "young one"), a newborn, a toddler, a child, a teenager and someday, if the Lord allows it, I'll be a senior citizen too.  My humanity never changed....I just had different stages of the same life.  Do we kill someone based on the fact that they are at a specific stage of life?

Right now I am at my computer.  I am Shiphrah at my computer, typing happily away. :)  If I were to get up right now and go to the kitchen, would I stop being Shiphrah?   Would I become more valuable because I am no longer at my computer?   Did you become LESS valuable because you went out to your yard?   Are you still of value just because you go from one location to the next?   So were you less valuable before taking the momentous 6-7 inch trip down the birth canal out to join the rest of us?  Yet, all of a sudden the worth of the unborn baby is of zero value in the eyes of some people  (a priest and a Levite in this case) who are apparently anointed to decide everyone else's worth.

The Samaritan loves his neighbor.  He stops to take time to care for him (or her) because he sees the worth of that person who was created in God's own image.  The individual who sees the humanity in crisis and walks right by can't be bothered.  Based on the case made above....size, development, environment and dependency, it makes me wonder if the priest and the Levite justified leaving the man left for dead because he was shorter, younger, dependent on medical care or somehow his location wasn't optimum.  The value of the man left for dead was not worthy. 

We don't know what the priest and Levite were thinking of course but their refusal to take action reveals their lack of love for their neighbor.  They saw him and passed by on the other side.  The Samaritan had compassion.

Pastor John Ensor told us, "But God calls us to rescue, so that’s what we do. It’s nothing more than the parable of the good Samaritan. There was a man who was about to die. What does love do? Love doesn’t say, I don’t know, I didn’t do it, I don’t’ believe in that. You see, well I’m not pro choice, that’s not good enough.

Love requires that you rescue the weak and the innocent. You pick the man up, you put him on your donkey and you take him in, pay for the care. You don’t have to go to school for this. You just have to love your neighbor and you’ll figure it out as you go. Is it easy? No. it costs you a lot. We call it, cross-bearing for the child bearing."

Pastor Ensor shares with many pro-life groups all around the world.  He encourages the congregations to be the Samaritans...
"If someone was about to jump off a bridge, would you say, I just want you to know I support your decision whatever it is? No. you would say, come with me, whatever it is that drove you to this point where you will jump, there’s another solution. And I will help you find it. You say, well, I need money. I don’t have a lot of money. You don’t have a lot of money, but God has plenty and there’s always room in this world for your child, or your friend’s child, or your daughter’s child, or your grandchild."

"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." -Elie Wiesel

Will you be a cross-bearer for a child bearer?  Yes?  Then let's go get our bandages!

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