I've often read this story and heard lessons about it that focus on encouraging us to be the one who shows love, the person who will take time and effort to care. And that's
very true and valid.
We need to see those hurting, those in need as our 'neighbor' and love them as ourselves. (which is quite a big lesson and pretty hard to do, especially if they're different from us)
But, I started thinking about the often overlooked character in this story, the beaten man. We don't know much about him except that he was a man walking down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Those would have both been Israelite cities. Could the speculate that he was an Israelite too? And if so,
what would he feelwhen he watched his "brothers", those who should love him, walk by as if he was too unimportant to notice? What feelings would he have for those men after he healed physically? For the men who represent his God and who didn't seem to care at all for his pain?
And then, what feelings would he have for the man who did stop and help him heal? A man who the religious people saw as an outcast, as unworthy, as unacceptable. Yet, a man who was able to show love through his actions. How would the hurt man see him now?
I feel like the beaten man, struggling and in pain, stopped in my journey. I have watched as some who claim to be my "brothers" pass by unconcerned, show in their actions they want nothing to do with me. I have also experienced those who others consider "unclean" or "unacceptable" stop, take time, show me love and invest to help heal my wounds. I know my view of these groups has altered; I wonder if it was the same for the man in the story.