Counsel of Chalcedon
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Releasing the "Good Samaritan:" Counsel on Improving Race Relations

In response to the question, "And who is my neighbor?", the Lord Jesus, in Luke 10:30-37, told the story that is better known as the parable of the "Good Samaritan". In this very graphic portrayal of what it means to love one's neighbor, Jesus puts in bold contrast, the callousness and insensitivity of the priest and the Levite with the concern and compassion of the Samaritan. Given their involvement in things religious, we would expect that the priest and the Levite would have been the ones that showed compassion to the wounded man, but they didn't. It is possible that both the priest and the Levite were on their way to "church",and did not have the time for a work of compassion. No doubt they could very easily rationalize their failure to minister to the needy traveler.

If we grant that the priest and the Levite might have had a "good reason" for not giving assistance, it must also be pointed out that the Samaritan had better reasons for not giving aid. First, he was of another race, and the race relations were not good. Secondly, the help that he gave was costly to him and it is not likely that he would be compensated by the wounded man. thirdly, he took a great risk in stopping to give aid. If someone else had come along at the time, he could have been charged with the crime, or been accused of stealing from the dying man. He had good reasons for non-involvement but he showed compassion at a great risk to himself. The aid that he gave was risky and costly. I believe that there is a message in this parable that parallels the situation of many white Christians who would minister to needy blacks.