A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite . . .
A Facebook post told the story of a pastor who on his first Sunday at a large church decided to come dressed as a homeless person. Before the service began, he walked around, mumbling a greeting. Only three people bothered to greet him in return. When he asked for money to buy breakfast, people hurried past him. After all, you don’t give money to a panhandler. Besides, who knew why he was homeless? He might have been an addict who had ruined his life with drugs or alcohol. The church members “passed by on the other side.”
That’s what the priest and Levite in Jesus’ parable did. Perhaps in a hurry to serve in worship, or tired and needing to get home, the priest and Levite looked the other way. The robbed and beaten man was not their problem, and stopping to help could be dangerous.
Of course the real danger is in passing by without helping. It’s much easier to look the other way. For seven years I regularly drove past a homeless shelter without ever bothering to stop and ask how I or our congregation could help. I thought I was too busy to bother.
If you, like me, have passed by on the other side, ask for forgiveness, and ask the Lord to give you a second chance. Then look for opportunities to serve.
Lord Jesus, thank you for reaching out to us when we were down and out. Fill us with your compassion and help us to reach out and help others. In your name, Amen.
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