Practice What You Hear

by Ray Reuter on January 25, 2018

I’m confident assuming that you have heard the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s the parable about “holy” people ignoring a person clearly in need along the side of the road. The individual who stops to help the person in need is a non-religious Samaritan. He not only pauses his agenda to help, he offers to give the beaten man some of his stuff (i.e., bandages, oil, wine, a donkey ride, and money). The lesson is about compassion and mercy.

Researchers set up a little study to recreate this scenario. Seminary students were on their way to teach a class on the Good Samaritan, but the study was set up so that the the students would be running just a little late to teach their class on being a good neighbor. The researchers put a shabbily dressed man who was moaning (and clearly in need) right in their path. The seminary students almost had to step over him to get to their class.

Guess what happened? 90% of the devoutly religious teachers — ON THEIR WAY TO TEACH ABOUT BEING A GOOD SAMARITAN — ignored the person in need. Now before we get too judgmental and righteous … it is fair to proclaim we ALL do the same thing at times. That’s part of being human.

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a great line about this parable. He said: “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But … the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

BAM! Let’s practice what we hear and what we might be preaching …

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