CLTC – Dr Maxon Mani, PhD Principal
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).
The best part of being a person is about being different – unlike others and being unique. It probably is one of the main emphasis of the society we live in, and in some manner the Bible emphasises on this way of thinking too (see, Romans 12:2; Proverbs 1:15; 1 Peter 2:9; Philippians 2:15 etc.). Such manner of thinking is almost always influenced by the difference in the human race itself – the ethnicity; the geographical location; and the religious, ethical, economic, political, and social ethos of a given people group. Not only the mentioned differentials, but also fields and levels of educational qualifications; economic status; types of political affiliations; and other similar groupings in our modern society also create the difference.
By looking at these walls of differences, I have some sympathy for the poor lawyer in the story of the Good Samaritan because I in some manner identify with him. There is ample evidence in this story (Luke 10:25–37) which tells us that the lawyer is simply being different in the way he thinks based on his ethnical, religious, social, and ethical ethos of his society. The lawyer’s response, “love God with all your heart and mind and love your neighbour as yourself,” to Jesus’ question “How do you read it,” can also be seen from this perspective. Jesus’s reply to the lawyer “Do this and you will live” in some form is ambiguous because the lawyer, only being informed by a particular culture was not able to comprehend Jesus’ answer hence the question to justify “Who is my neighbour.” This leads to a beautiful story of the Good Samaritan.
Here Jesus uses a pictorial story to lead the lawyer out of his culture-particular closet to see humanity as God sees it. The lawyer’s unwilling response, “The one who had mercy on him,” to Jesus’ follow up question, “who among the three in the story is a neighbour,” highlights the lawyer’s awareness of being a different kind of being different, one that is governed by mercy, an unmerited favour, a kind of ‘being different’ that is above and beyond our walls of separation.
Much like the lawyer, I wonder if we are also being barricaded by the many differentials; ethnicity, social and ethical codes, dogmas, social status, denominationalism, theological orientation, and more.
Are these walls of separation becoming the measures we use to measure who is and who is not one of us?
Are we also facing the same issues the lawyer was facing?
Are our abilities impaired by the many walls?
Are they limiting our ability to see what God sees?
How can we respond to the dying world that is choked by the many walls of separation?
Be a Samaritan, offer mercy, be different, be a kind that is above and beyond our walls of separation, a uniqueness that is governed by a heart full of mercy.
From the weekly CLTC newssheet, 15 September 2021
Dr Maxon Mani, PhD Principal
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