A Paraphrased Parable
A successful businessman lived a few blocks from the Baptist church he attended. One Sunday, on leaving church, decided to cut through an alleyway as a shortcut on his way to a restaurant for breakfast. No sooner had he entered the alleyway when he was jumped by a gang of thugs who beat him badly and took his wallet, his watch, and even stripped him of his expensive suit. They left him half dead.
The pastor of the church walked by a few minutes later and noticed someone lying in the alley. “Drunken bums…” he muttered under his breath. “They never change”. And he hurried off. Not long after, the local Catholic Priest walked by, on his way to breakfast with a wealthy parishioner. He saw the man, but he was worried it might be a trap (and it would almost certainly make him late) and he hurried along.
But a cook from an all-night diner, on his way home from the night shift, walked down the alley and saw the man, and stopped. He was recently released from prison. In prison, he had become a Muslim and had amended his life. Remembering that Allah is merciful, he approached the man and saw that he was in serious trouble. Carrying him to a safe location, he phoned for an ambulance and accompanied the man to the hospital. Since the unconscious man had no identification, he even signed the paperwork promising to be financially responsible for the man’s hospital treatment. Shortly afterward, as he waited at the man’s side, the police arrived and he was taken to the police station to make a statement and answer many suspicious questions arising from his former criminal record.
Nevertheless, he returned to visit the man the next day and check on his progress and recovery.
Now, which of these three, the pastor, the priest or the Muslim, was truly following the teachings of Jesus?
There’s a story (perhaps apocryphal but instructive nevertheless) that a professor at a theological seminary once devised an experiment to force his students to examine their hearts. He asked them to prepare and deliver a sermon on the Parable of the Good Samaritan – then arranged that as each of them in turn was on his way to the auditorium to deliver the sermon, they would pass buy someone who appeared to be homeless and unconscious and had been strategically placed along the route. As you might have guessed, very few stopped to check on the man.
He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in the darkness even until now. He who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no occasion for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and doesnt know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
(1 John 2:9-11 WEB)