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This parable tells us we can treat people in at least 3 different ways.
(1) Like the robbers, sees a person as a prey. They are out to gain something from him.
(2) Like the priest and the Levite, see the person as a trouble to avoid. He is a baggage they do not want to carry.
(3) Like the Samaritan man, seeing the person as someone he can help. He sees it as an opportunity to minister.
(1) The robbers saw the person as a prey.
Their attitude was: WHAT IS YOURS IS MINE, and I can take it from you.
They were driven by greed.
When the robbers saw a man Ė they robbed him, ďstripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away leaving him half dead.Ē (v.30) Whether he lives or dies is not their concern. They got what they want from him. His life is of little value to them, except what they can get out of it.
Itís like a child. Someoneís once said a childís property law goes like this:
1. If I like it, itís mine.
2. If itís in my hand, itís mine.
3. If I can take it from you, itís mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, itís mine.
5. If itís mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If Iím doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, itís mine.
8. If I think itís mine, itís mine.
9. If itís yours and I steal it, itís mine.
In a competitive society like ours, we can easily end up with such an attitude. We always ask, ďWhat am I getting out of this?Ē If I get nothing out of it, Iím not going to do it.
We want to gain something in everything we do. And sometimes, we even seek to make a profit at someone elseís expense. We take advantage of situations and people, so that we can get the most out of it.
Of course, we do not go to the extent of robbing someone, but our action sometimes does reveal that we care only for ourselves. It really doesnít matter if the person lives or dies, as long as I am doing fine and getting what I want from life.
(2) The religious men saw the person as a trouble to avoid.
Their attitude was: WHATíS MINE IS MINE, and I will keep it from you.
They were driven by selfishness.
Both of them Ė the priest and the Levite - ďpassed by on the other side.Ē (v.31, 32)
They were in a hurry to do their work at the temple. They would not want to touch the unclean, or to care for someone who might just die in their arms. According to the Jewish law (Num 19:11), ďHe who touches a dead man is unclean for seven days.Ē It would be too troublesome. It would delay their journey or hinder their work.
Do we see people as trouble to avoid? Are there times we choose to close our eyes to them, and just walk pass on the other side? Because to stop and help, we will have to give up something important to us Ė like our time, our resources, or our convenience.
Charles Swindoll says in The Quest for Character: Rare indeed are those people who give of themselves with little regard for recognition, personal benefit, or monetary returns. For some reason we are slowly eroding into a people that gauges every request for involvement from the viewpoint - What do I get out of it? How can I get the most for the least?
How do we overcome that Ė to see beyond ourselves and care for others? One way is to remind ourselves that all we have comes from God.
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