25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Orlando to Sanford, Florida, when he was attacked by capitalists. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A pastor happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a developer, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a young, black man, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him to bandage his wounds but the white traveler feared for his life and shot him dead. 34. When the police finally arrived, they took the traveler away for questioning but released him uncharged within a couple hours. 35 Meanwhile, the black man’s family was worried about him but were not informed of his whereabouts as their son was considered another drugged-out murderous Black thug.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who shot the thug in the face!”*
Jesus was stunned to silence for three minutes before he said, “Smdh.”
*If you think I’m exaggerating here about White conservative religionists and their antipathy towards Black victims of violence, check out the vicious, demeaning and flat-out racist comments on this post by a conservative Evangelical Black pastor who openly admits that he’s attempting colorblindness.
There are several reasons why The Good Samaritan is my favorite parable, mostly because, in the original, Jesus demonstrates that love stops at the borders of familiarity but shocks his listeners into considering The Villainized Other (as the Samaritan is) as not as a villain or a stereotype or even a decent character in the story, but as a possible hero. Loving those close to us is easy when they love us. Loving those who seemingly do not share common traits with us – whether they be of a different race, nationality, religion, political orientation, sexual orientation, they have different ways of organizing… Our fears of the Other have been taken advantage and turned to the breaking point by political and economic masters (the Capitalists Robbers in this version).
Jesus teaches love. Acceptance and healing and power to mend for the marginalized among and in all of us. For our marginalization hurts us all – we are all tied in together to the oppression of some. Out of self-love and love for God, I seek to love all. For though we are all different (and I am no Trayvon) we’re all intimately and intricately connected.