Summary: If can help someone solve a problem, then solve it!
I want to begin with the parable that I just read: The story of the Good Samaritan. I just want to point out some historical elements. This parable is only included in the book of Luke. Luke was a Gentile in the Jewish religion. See, Christians were not viewed as separate from the Jews until the 2nd century. And all through the 1st century, a group of people known as the Judaizers was active. They believed that all these “Christians” that were being converted had to follow Jewish law and follow Jewish customs. They were not separated until the 2nd century when their influence on Christians began to fade. Now, that’s not quite the point. Why was he the only one who wrote this parable? Why is it that followers of Jesus such as Matthew and Mark, and John, one of Jesus’ closest companions did not include this parable? It is because none of them felt the same way about the Samaritans as Luke did. Luke was Greek. He had no beef with the Samaritans as did the other three authors of the gospels. He was a Gentile without a bias, and more importantly, he was a Christian without a bias. He was not influenced by the Judaizers to hate Samaritans, and in return, he was not a Jew to be hated by the Samaritans. He was writing this gospel intentionally to a wealthy gentile like himself named Theophilus, and I think that by including this parable in his gospel, he was attempting to show how a Christian is truly supposed to act: Helping everyone equally without a bias. Now, when I use that word “bias”, I’m not particularly focusing on the type that we usually think of which is racial, ethnic, or gender bias; but I’m focusing more the type that we don’t often recognize even within ourselves. I’m talking about the bias of not liking someone because of their attitude, or their political view, or maybe you disagree on the smallest thing and this is expanded in your own mind. Let me give you an example from my own experience. I just finished my first semester at Houghton College and my first week there, I met a guy in my Pre-calculus class; I’ll call him Jeff. Jeff did not understand Pre-calc at all, he tried harder and studied more of it than anyone I knew, and his term project partner was worse off than he was. On the other hand, I picked it up rather easily and had the smartest person in class as my term project partner. Why is this relevant? Jeff is a Communications major, he has an incredibly lame sense of humor that no one seems to get, he hangs out in the radio station all day, and is seemingly always focused on politics. Jeff has a personality almost exactly like mine. For some reason, he turned to me for assistance in math whenever he needed help. I would show him a few things, but I wouldn’t really help him solve the problem. Little did I know that I was reflecting this type of bias I am speaking about to you this morning. I did not realize the cruelty of my actions until a couple weeks before finals, and when I realized my error, I immediately called Jeff and asked if he wanted to review the next afternoon. What I had done earlier in the semester was absolutely wrong, and I’m going to tell you a story now that I think will explain why and will also help us to better apply Luke’s lesson to our own lives.