The Neighbor Who Wounds
The following was written for and published by GracefullyTruthful.com - an online Bible study for women. For more studies like this one, check out the website.
Read His Words Before Ours!
“The one who showed mercy…”
I read “wounded” and my heart reels.
I know wounded.
I know slowly retreating to care for the deep cuts and sharp blows I’ve endured.
I know sprinting away from the lashes against me.
I know wounds so deep they begin to look healed on the outside, but still throb and gape.
I know wounded, friend.
I bet you do, too.
But no one knows wounded quite like our Jesus.
In Luke 10, Jesus tells a fictional story about a Jewish traveler attacked by robbers and left for dead.
Two men passed by the nearly lifeless body, a priest and a Levite, both religious and both the same race as the wounded man, but they didn’t stop.
They saw him, and they chose to look away.
Then a Samaritan man enters the scene.
The original audience of the story possessed the context to understand this Samaritan man was wounded, too. But, like so many of us, his wounds weren’t visible.
At the time Jesus told this parable, Samaritans and Jews had a long-standing rivalry, spanning hundreds of years. Due to the mixed Assyrian and Jewish genealogy of Samaritans, Jews resented Samaritans’ “impure blood line” and often treated them like trash.
We know from a true story in Scripture that Jews and Samaritans never interacted with one another (John 4:9), and even Jesus wasn’t received by Samaritans when He was heading into Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51-53)
We don’t know the kind of ridicule this Samaritan endured from Jews, but undoubtedly, the hatred seething from the Jewish community cut him deeply.
Yet, we see the Samaritan man, wounded by the Jews, breaking barriers of racism by caring for the physically wounded Jewish man.
We’ve all been wounded.
Maybe, like the Jewish man, we’ve been physically and emotionally wounded from abuse.
Maybe, like the Jewish man, we’ve been spiritually wounded by “religion” and people in leadership positions who’ve told us we’re too dirty and too damaged to be worth helping.
Maybe, like the Samaritan, we’ve been wounded by society, or racial and economic barriers.
Or maybe we’ve been wounded by something else….
friends, family, business deals, jobs, the government.
He was wounded by it all.
He took on the sins of the world when He suffered on the cross,
eventually dying from the extreme torture He endured.
He was wounded physically and emotionally.
He was wounded by the religion bearing the same name as His nationality,
and He – who IS God – was killed by the religious people who claimed to worship God.
Jesus knows wounded, friend.
He knows the sharp pains piercing our hearts by betrayal. (Luke 22:3-6)
He knows the hurt embedded in us when grief becomes part of our story. (John 11:32-36)
He knows the rejection of people who have loved us and known us for our entire lives. (Luke 4:14-30)
Jesus knows wounded.
Because Jesus knew wounded so well, because He allowed Himself to be wounded beyond recognition, so badly He eventually died …
We don’t have to live a wounded life.
We have hope.
So, what do we do about the people who hurt us?
What do we do with this story about a wounded man loving another wounded man?
How do we love those who have wounded us?
Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
The Samaritan had every excuse to ignore the beaten man on the side of the road. This Jewish man had spent his entire life scoffing and scorning Samaritans, believing they were a lesser people, unwanted by God. And even if he didn’t believe it, his people did.
No one would’ve been surprised if the Samaritan kept walking.
Mercy isn’t just the Samaritan’s compassion, but the forgiveness he displayed toward a man he could’ve left for dead.
Mercy is the forgiveness God offers to us, even though we deserve death.
Mercy is hard, isn’t it?
I get a knot in my stomach just thinking about loving the people who inflicted my deepest wounds.
Friends, I cannot go on without emphasizing that forgiveness and even love are completely possible while still maintaining strong boundaries.
Sometimes, you can love someone best by enforcing boundaries, and forgiveness does not mean boundaries must be removed or even lowered. Abusive and toxic relationships can cause some of our deepest wounds, and we can forgive abusers while still protecting ourselves.
I want to be “the one who showed mercy”. (Luke 10:37)
I want to live ready to show compassion and offer forgiveness to people who have wounded me. I want to love my neighbors, even the ones who have wounded me.
Merciful love is going to take all of me, and all of you.
It’s going to take all of our strength.
But it’s worth the struggle because of Jesus, the One who showed us mercy.
If He can be merciful to us, surely, with His strength, we can extend mercy to others.
We, too, can be . . . the ones who show mercy.
From Bible studies to blogs, articles to musings of the heart, Kendra's writings are unbarred and raw - exactly how she speaks.