The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan retold – Nicaragua 2012

The following story is true except for the parts that I’ve made up:

One Saturday night the members of a church small group were discussing the Biblical commandment to love one’s neighbor. Everyone heartily agreed that loving their neighbor was an essential part of being a Christian citing the story in Luke 10 where Jesus affirms that loving others goes hand in hand with loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

However, some people in the group were having a hard time picturing what exactly love for one’s neighbor looked like and who should be included in our definition of “neighbor”. The small group leader began to tell them the following story:

Once upon a time there was a woman who lived in Matagalpa, a city located three hours by bus from Managua. The woman had been abused by her husband and kicked out of her house by her family. Her new born baby was sick with respiratory problems and desperately needed medical attention. Not knowing what else to do, the women gathered her belongings, what little money she had, her new born baby and her 10 year old son and headed for the capital, knowing that at least there she could find decent medical attention for her suffering baby girl in one of the public hospitals.

After spending 24 excruciating long nights and days in the hospital, all three crowded into a small room that they shared with another patient, the doctor gave her the joyous news that her baby girl would be ok. He then let her know that they had to leave the hospital immediately because there were others who needed the hospital bed more than they did.

The young mother left the hospital joyful but scared with basically no money and no where to go. She sat on the curb outside the hospital watching people busily pass by going about their business. As she rested there and took stock of her situation a feeling of dread washed over her and she began to cry.

As she was crying a young missionary couple passed by the hospital. They saw the mother and her two children with hungry, blank stares on their faces and said to one another, “This woman and her children need help, we should go see what’s wrong.” But then they quickly realized, “Even though we have an extra room in our house we couldn’t let her stay with us. We both have important jobs to do and are gone from the house all day and we can’t leave her alone in our home.” They quickly passed by on the other side of the street.

A little while later a church leader passed by and saw the family still sitting by the curb looking hopeless, tired, sick and hungry. The church leader felt sorry for the family and asked what was wrong. When the mother explained the families situation the church leader exclaimed, “Ay pobrecitos,” and gave them 50 cordobas. Feeling good about herself for helping the poor and needy she left for her Tuesday night Bible study.

Around 8:00pm that night it had already gotten dark and the mother was terrified contemplating spending the night on the street in a city that she knew was dangerous, especially after dark. Just as she was losing it and starting to sob a black man from the Atlantic Coast who was one his way home from work stopped and asked her what was wrong. At first she was petrified, she had heard many stories about these “Negros” all saying they were dangerous and could not be trusted. Not knowing where else to turn,  she  began telling her terrible story to the stranger.

The man, who had two small twin children at home was moved to tears with compassion for the woman. He hailed a cab, gathered the mother and her children inside and headed for home.

When they arrived at home the man’s wife greeted them with a worried look on her face but after hearing of the family’s situation she knew just what to do. They shared a simple meal with the newcomers of rice, beans, and fried plantains and after supper tucked their exhausted guests into the only bed in the house while the family slept on the floor. The black family assured the young mother that she could stay for as long as she needed until she was able to get back on her feet.

When the leader finished the story the group sat in stunned silence, scandalized. Why would their leader tell a story where a black family who probably wasn’t even Christian where the heros? The leader ended by asking, “Who showed the best example of Jesus’s  love in this story? We should go then and do likewise.”

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One Comment on “The Good Samaritan”

  1. Alan & Beth Says:

    Reading your blog is good for my soul. I thank God for you, your work, your insights, your relationships . . . be blessed and encouraged as you sweat! 🙂 Love, Beth (and family)

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