I am the first to admit I can be the proverbial stirrer. I enjoy a good debate. I enjoy a strong debate. I enjoy stirring the pot. And at times I am guilty of playing the devil’s advocate. Despite holding to my own personal convictions, there are times when I will take the opposite stance to see if there are any weaknesses in my own position and those arguing for or against.
Within the framework of discussion and debate, if someone quotes a Scripture to me, they had better ensure that they are using it within context to strengthen their point. And if I differ on their understanding of it, I am willing to have them explain to me why their understanding and position is the better one.
Recently I was involved in a discussion about our own governments position the treatment of refugees and our policies on stopping them from arriving via boats. During the discussion one particular vocal person cut and pasted the story of the Good Samaritan which is to be found in Luke, 10:25-37 This story is all about showing others mercy. He used the passage to show how inhumane our countries policies are. And within the context of that discussion, he had many nodding their heads in agreement.
I totally agree that the passage of Scripture is encouraging us to have mercy. In this regard, you will have no argument from me. However, I did disagree with their interpretation of what mercy actually means. And put it back into their own backyard to see if they were actually practising it, themselves. However, for now, I am getting ahead of myself, and will explore this in a little more detail shortly.
Some of the policies our government are exploring and trying to implement is the offshore settlement and resettlement of those who arrive to our shore by boat. The detractors of this policy are crying a lack of mercy towards those coming here, in that how dare we resettle them in another country, one which may or may not have a good track record of human rights, nor perhaps are they are as wealthy as perhaps our own country is.
The question I then asked was how many homeless people were they taking into their homes. Surprisingly not one person admitted to ever putting a homeless person up for the night or for a longer period of time. The point I was making is that if we are to expect others to show mercy; shouldn’t we likewise also show mercy to others, on a personal basis.
Within the construct of the passage of Scripture, we see a priest and a religious person passing a guy who was beat up, robbed and near dead, and they bypassed him completely. However, within the context of the scriptures, a Samaritan who was a stench in the Israelites nostrils, stopped, helped the man, took him to a inn, stayed a night with him, then paid the inn keeper to look after him, with the words, “I will pay you any extra costs involved in looking after him. ” Jesus concludes with the words, “Go and show others mercy likewise.”
In this passage we see a number of things happening.
- A man was in serious need of help.
- A priest and a levite saw him and ignored him.
- A man of ill repute, saw him, and stopped to help him.
- The man of ill repute, didn’t take him to his own country. Nor did he take him into his own home.
- The man of ill repute, took him to a inn and paid for him to stay there.
- The man of ill repute, didn’t continue to look after him himself – rather he paid another to look after the man in need, and continued on his own way.
- Jesus commended the man of ill repute, telling him that we too were to show others mercy in the same way.
Within the context of this passage of Scripture, we can easily see that our governments policy on resettling others to another country to be cared for, does indeed fall into the category of mercy.
Now back to the original discussion. I asked those who were using this Scripture to allow open borders and in doing so were kinda making out that those who disagreed had less mercy than they did, – “How many homeless people have you passed by in the street and brought into your home to care for? The reality is, if every Christian in Sydney took in a homeless person for the night, the streets would be empty of homeless people!”