I've been sitting on this idea for some time now. Please read this post all the way through once you start, I really hope you hear my heart. I've been doing some soul searching and study into what "loving your enemy" really means, and whether or not we're living up to that mandate.
I think part of the message of the "Good Samaritan" has gotten lost in translation and glossed over in the past 2000 years. We see the term "Samaritan" and think it's synonymous with "person" or maybe "someone different than Jesus' audience". It is so much more than that. Because Jesus knew his audience, and was one of them, he knew how to get a reaction from them. He intentionally triggered them to get a rise out of them. He used someone that in their context would NEVER be the hero of the story. He wasn't making the Jews the bad guys and the Samaritans the good guys. He was dredging up all kinds of emotions to get the religious people of the time uncomfortable and hopefully convict their hearts. (I think, that had Jesus been preaching to Samaritans, the roles would be reversed, to prove his point, but of course, that's speculation.)
There is a serious culture war going on right now, and because the majority of Christians identify as conservative, in many circles the term "liberal" is a word used to describe things and people who go against anything moral or Christian. It is a decidedly negative and even pejorative adjective - much like Samaritan would've been 2000 years ago. There is shared bad history, the people on each side have hate and disdain for one another, and feel that there is no overlap.
So, as Jesus preached to those who he was a part of, I'm attempting to do the same. To show you more of my intent to open dialogue, versus cause dissension, I'll write myself into the story, and not in a positive role. Please, bear with me.
The Good Liberal
(The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35) Reimagined)
A man was walking down the streets of New York, when he was attacked and mugged. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A pastor happened to be going down the road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a missionary, when she came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a liberal, as he was driving, stopped, parked and came to where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him, bound up his wounds, and placed him in his car. He took him to a hotel and took care of him. He called for a concierge doctor. He paid for the room and medical care, and said to the manager "Look after him. Here is my credit card number, charge anything he needs onto it. When I return, we can settle any other outstanding costs."
(Obviously, in today's context, he should've called an ambulance, but stick with me.)
Points to ponder:
1. In both the original and this story it says he "came" to the injured man, showing that he went out of his way.
2. In both stories he gave up the comfort of his mode of transportation - a donkey in the original, which means he walked, and in this one, putting a bloody and dirty man in his car.
3. I chose a concierge doctor, because in the passage in Luke it says he used oil and wine - which would've been expensive and extravagant, especially for someone you don't know.
4. In neither story does he say to cap off care after a certain cost or amount, but rather says the equivalent of "money is no issue".
If something like this were to happen today, it would go viral. Everyone would be talking about the selfless acts of the "Samaritan" or "liberal", because it is so contrary to how most people would react. And YET it's the level of generosity we're called to! It's how we are called to love our neighbors, and enemies even. How are we going to make a difference if we treat people the same or worse than everyone else? Why then, would anyone want what we have - a relationship with Jesus? It's not supposed to be easy or convenient. It's supposed to hurt and cost us (time, money, effort) more than it would in the natural. We are to love others, because Jesus is love.
I am not saying conservatives are bad and liberals are good, or the reverse. These adjectives are man-made and arbitrary, anyway.
I am simply attempting to use the same tool Jesus used to yes, offend his listeners, in the hope that they would see something in a light they never would've otherwise.
So, how will we respond?
Brothers and sisters, you are loved. Thank you for reading this all the way through. I hope my heart has shone through, as I am "preaching" to myself just as much as anyone else. I welcome differing ideas and conversation, but please do so in love, and openness to others' thoughts as well.