A father is gracious and kind. A father is willing and ready to help whenever is needed. A father is not reluctant to love. A father does not withhold good things from his children. And God is the greatest father of all. That is why his heart for the oppressed extends farther than many of us are able to understand.
When I think about a time when someone in the Bible was oppressed, my mind is brought to the story of the Good Samaritan. However, he was not the one who was oppressed. It was the man that he helped that was oppressed. But before we talk about the Good Samaritan, let's talk more about the other characters in this story. Let's talk about, who my Bible calls, a priest and a Temple assistant. Other Bibles may refer to them simply as religious people. Either way, they were people who were supposed to represent the church and show love to people. Sadly, that is not what happened.
When we meet this man, we see him traveling from place to place and in the midst of that, he is attacked. He is beaten. His clothes are stripped from him. He is left nearly dead by the side of the road. He is clearly not in good shape. The next thing we see is a priest walking by. Great, right? Someone who would be willing to stop and help this man. Wrong. The priest passes to the other side of the road to avoid the man all together. Next, we see the Temple assistant. Great! Another person who would be willing to help, right? Wrong, yet again. This man investigates the situation and chooses to walk away. Why is this? Why did these men blatantly choose to leave someone in need? Why did they feel as if it were not their job?
This is so relatable to what I feel like we, as a society, express every day. We see people in need and have the means to help them, but we think it's not our job. We see someone who may need a little assistance and we think that it may be an inconvenience to us, or someone else will do it. The lack of love that we typically show is so easy to justify. However, I am here to tell you that is NOT God's heart. God's heart would not turn away.
"He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31 (MSG)
Now let's talk about the Good Samaritan. My Bible calls him a "despised Samaritan". This tells me that his feelings were not sad. They were not full of pity for the hurting man. They were not at all wary. They were angry. He was disgusted by the way that the other men had reacted and responded to a situation like this. And in turn, his disgust sprung him into action. From then, we see him taking care of the man's wounds, bandaging them up and putting healing oils on them. He then puts the man on his own donkey and takes him to a nearby inn and continued to take care of him. Next, we see what happens the next day. I think this is my favorite part. The Samaritan had to leave, but he gave the innkeeper money and told him to continue to take care of the man. Then, he said if his bill was more than what he gave, he would pay when he came back through that town. Y’all! This man wasn't making a one and done kind of sacrifice. He was committed fully to this man's restoration. I know that is what God wants our hearts to look like for the oppressed. How do I know that? Because we are an oppressed people and that is exactly what His heart looks like for us. He doesn't forgive us and then leave us to take on life alone.
For most of us, when we find Jesus, we are broken, hurt, unworthy, and have nothing to give, but God gives us everything He has to restore, refresh, and renew us and bring us into His loving grace and mercy. God is our father and he made the greatest sacrifice for us. He sent his only son to die on the cross for us, even when we were not deserving.
In turn, it is our job to love, serve, and give to those that we encounter who are in need. This could be someone who needs a meal or clothes for the winter. It could be someone who needs a shoulder to cry on. It could look like any kind of sacrifice. All in all, it stems from love. The love that we receive from Jesus should be easily turned into love for others. Whatever the cost. Whatever the sacrifice. We should be willing and ready to exemplify the Father's heart for the oppressed in any and every situation.
My prayer for you today is that you would be willing to buy a meal for someone you see that might not have dinner or you would be willing to listen to someone who is different than you talk about the struggles they have faced. I pray you would be willing to make a committed sacrifice to make a difference in someone's life. And I challenge you to go out of your comfort zone and refuse to walk away from people when they need you. You are so loved. So, I challenge you today to love fiercely. To love deeply. And to love unconditionally.
Author | Morgan Attebery