Dr. John K. Mathew
In the famous story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus talks about how a priest and a Levite ignore the distress of an injured man who has been attacked and robbed on the road to Jericho.
The man is eventually saved by a Samaritan, who tends his wounds and carries him on his animal to a wayside inn.
In the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus takes special interest in the Samaritans that reflect his concern for outcast groups in general. The lawyer to whom Jesus relates the story understands its truth and is told to behave in the same way. This story is a warning and a mandate for all of us and it has greater significance for our times!
The changing pattern in our demography deserves our attention. A number of elderly and abandoned people increase day by day. It is said of Kerala that due to increase in the duration of life span, decrease in the birth rate and the current migration trend, there will be more elderly people in the population. This phenomenon is more evident and strong in the Christian community which should be an eye opener.
Addressing the issues in the church, instructions are given to pastors - Apostle Paul charges Timothy to pay special attention to the needs of the old. It reads, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.”(1 Timo.5:1-3)
Whenever Jesus saw people He saw them as sheep without a shepherd and He was moved with compassion. Jesus Himself was the kindest man who ever lived. It is said of him as it is said of no other in history, that if all the deeds of kindness that He did in three short years were written, the world would not contain the books. Jesus talked a great deal about kindness, just the plain, old fashioned every day habit of common kindness. Judging by what He said, He would rather see this character in His followers more than any other trait of character.
Not that our kindness will save us. If we are ever saved, it is He who saves us. But there are things in us that please or displease Him. Jesus put so much stress on this thing of kindness that He identifies Himself with those who need it, and in effect tells us that we can’t be friends with Him and at the same time be indifferent to the suffering.
In Matthew 25 Jesus unequivocally states His stand to be kind to the needy. He says “For
I was hungry you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you?” The king will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me”(35-37,40). It is also written that people who responded differently will be brutally punished. It is high time for Born Again Christians to recognise their shortfall in philanthropic actions and stand together to help the poor and needy with full force.