One of the major obstacles to show- ing compassion is making prejudgments about who we think is worthy of our compassion. Jesus told a parable to answer the question: “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). Or, who qualifies as worthy of our neighborly acts?
Jesus told of a man who traveled on the notoriously dangerous road from Jerusalem to Jericho. As he traveled, he fell among thieves and was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. Religious Jews (a priest and a Levite) passed him, but they walked by on the other side, probably for fear of being religiously defiled. But a Samaritan came along and had unconditional compassion on the wounded stranger.
Jesus’ audience would have gasped at this because Jews despised Samaritans. The Samaritan could have limited or qualified his compassion because the man was a Jew. But he did not limit his neighborly kindness to those he thought were worthy. Instead, he saw a human being in need and resolved to help him.
Are you limiting your kindness to the ones you deem worthy? As followers of Jesus, let us find ways to show neighborly kindness to all people, especially to those we have judged as unworthy.