The Good Samaritan and "whose life matters?"

The Good Samaritan and “Whose Life Matters?”

Luke 10:25-37


We are currently witnessing and even participating in a debate (to put it mildly) as to whose life matters.

There is a lot of emotion out there about this. The very fact the question is asked bothers me immensely. I have prayed for wisdom and have prayed for God to show me why this bothers me so much. (and have asked God to show me my own sin in this) The issue is so sensitive that my questions about this have gotten me accused of being racist.  I don’t think that it is a fair accusation, but I am willing for God (not someone else) to show me my sin in this issue.


I keep coming back to the story of the “good Samaritan.” It is a story about “whose life matters?” It could be a story about race, or about unborn babies, or about abortionists, or about police officers, or anyone; DO THEIR LIFES MATTER? ARE THEY MY NEIGHBOR?


The antagonist in this story is a “certain lawyer.” He thinks like a lawyer. “What does the law require of me?” 


He has forgotten that God expects MORE than just keeping the law; and interestingly enough, he rightly understands the law as to being about LOVE. He knows that he is to love God with all that he has and that he is to love his neighbor as himself.


-         To see the law as being merely about justice and about not doing wrong is to misunderstand the law.


In verse 29, we get to see the sin in this lawyer’s own heart. (Remember that the moment you start thinking one life matters more than another there is sin in your own heart.) “But he, willing to justify HIMSELF, (to feel good about himself) said unto Jesus, who is my neighbor?”

Or “Who do I have to love?”

Or “Whose life matters?”


It is the equivalent of saying, “Do I have to love gentiles, or Jews, or Black people, or White people, or Hispanics...?”

“Do I have to love person who hurt me, or the person I disagree with?”

“Do I have to love people who have a different religion or faith than I do?”

“Do I have to love people that I perceive to be “bad, and what about my enemies?”


The minute you do this, that is identify your neighbor in an exclusive way you have joined the lawyer in seeking to JUSTIFY YOURSELF and in NOT LOVING the neighbor who is right in front of you. (you probably don’t even see them as needing to be loved. Read the story and see how 2 people did not see the man who needed to be loved.)


It is possible that in the desire to fight and to end racism, or to end social injustice, to miss loving your neighbor. And when you miss loving your neighbor (every neighbor) you will hurt people and destroy property in the name of doing right.  It may be deliberate hurting people, or it may be without being aware of it. 


The story of the good Samaritan tells us that we are responsible for our neighbor even if we don’t see the need.  That hurts, because I have been guilty of that concerning racism.  Please understand, this is not general not seeing the need with people that I don’t know, with people that are not my neighbor in the sense that they are right in front of me. This is a failure on my part to know the wounds of those I know and love.


I know that I am not alone in this guilt.


I am going to tread on thin ice here. I am pro-life; I am against abortion. It is possible to fail to love my neighbor who needs me to love and help them because I am so focused on loving the unborn.

It is possible to hurt my neighbor deliberately or by ignorant neglect because I am so focused on loving the unborn.  (I know Christians who live in the abortion only focus, who hurt others because of that focus. Some of them have condemned me for not making being against abortion the only issue.)


Those who are focused only on or excessively on racism, social injustice, or abortion quickly enter the place where they condemn those not with them, rather than love those not with them; or rather than bring them to salvation fro the sins of racism, injustice, and killing the unborn. (You could add many other issues to this list.)


This failure to love your neighbor can and does reach to all issues. To become focused on 1 issue is to fail to see the neighbor that needs you to love them right now.

Read Luke 10:25-37

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


In John 3:16-18. “For God so loved the world (all lives mattered), that he gave his only begotten son (birth son, genetic son, or blood son) that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to CONDEMN (this is what everyone who focuses on one issue does to those not focused on their issue) the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on Jesus is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned ALREADY, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God.


When you join the lawyer in Luke 9 by asking, “whose life matters?”, you are condemning others, not saving or helping anyone.


Will you join me in saying that?

It is time to change the conversation.