It was the scene in a New York subway, where a young black man, long haired and wearing a simple T and pair of faded jeans was fighting with a clean shaven white male, dressed smartly. After much struggle, the knife fell to the floor and the white male ran furiously away knowing he was no match for the black young man. The story went like this, that the black man was walking along the subway and came face to face with the white guy who was holding a knife trying to rob him. He fought him off! Before you know the end of this story, who was the bad guy on your mind?
Just a week ago, Marwa al-Sherbini, 32, a Muslim woman was killed by a 28 year old man in Germany in a court room. She was suing him for insulting her for wearing an Islamic headscarve. In a full view of the court house, he stabbed her repeatedly (how did he get knife into the court house?) until she bled to death. Her husband rushed to rescue her was also attacked but the ironic thing was that he was gunned down by the police who mistook him as the attacker instead of the 28 year old white male. He is now in critical condition in the hospital.
Like the first story, most of us sometimes already made up our minds as to who is guilty one. We grow up stereotyping people (meaning seeing people with our own crooked ideas about them) and say all kinds of bad things about certain people.
The story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus shared is not only about helping people. If we think as only helping people in need, then we miss the whole point of Jesus sharing this parable. You see, Samaritans are hated by the Jews during that time. Imagine the Jewish guy who was seriously wounded, with his bad perception of the Samaritans, found out that a Samaritan actually saved his life, how would he feel? Moreover he found out that there are few passers-by who did not help and that too were his own people?
Let us reach out to needs of others, even those who are not from the same race or hold the same opinions as us, or even the same religion as us! That's what exactly the message Jesus wanted to convey in the Good Samaritan story.