Jesus’ example of compassion. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan epitomizes the loving way to help others. It also exposes some ?compassion squelchers? that prevent us from reaching out to those in need (See Book Reviews, p. 14: A Patchwork Heart: Ch. 6, ?Compassion Squelchers?). In this work the authors describe five compassion squelchers: 1) Fear, 2) Prejudice, 3) Time 4) Complacency and 5) Selfishness.

Read Luke 10:25-37 together in preparation for the following discussion.

1. Fear. Fear is a key reason we have for not extending compassion to others. It was common knowledge that the road to Jericho was unsafe. And seeing the dying man on the roadside was testimony to this danger. So one reason the priest and Levite passed by on the other side of the highway is most likely because they were afraid of being attacked.

Why did the Good Samaritan stop? Didn’t he fear being attacked as well? Read Luke 10:33. What feeling prevailed over the Samaritan’s fear?

2. Prejudice. A second compassion squelcher is prejudice. When we judge someone based upon their color, creed, or country, we show prejudice. Prejudice is a difficult barrier because most of us don’t see our prejudices. Samaritans, paradoxically, were often ostracized because of prejudice. But this Samaritan knew what it felt like to be pre-judged and showed impartial concern for his fellow sufferer.

Discuss ways we show prejudice. Read Galatians 3:28. Can this text help us face this injustice?

3. Time. In one university study, the Good Samaritan story was ?acted out? and the responses of three groups of students who were sent by an ?injured? man were evaluated. Interestingly, the greatest number of people who stopped to help was from the third group. And what was the main contributing factor? Time! Two of the groups were told they must hurry to their next appointment; the third group was instructed to take its time.

Can taking time to show compassion be ?scheduled?? Discuss examples of Jesus being approached by unexpected people in need.

4. Complacency. ?Who is my neighbor?? The person we see who is in need. But it takes time and effort to help others. It is easy to sit back and let ?someone else? do what God puts in our pathway to do. But what a blessing we receive as we help others!

5. Selfishness. We don’t like to think we are selfish. But when we ?pass by,? placing our priorities above someone’s real need, we are being self-centered. Selfishness is a battle we cannot and do not have to fight alone. Christ will help us every day, as we give our lives and daily plans to Him.

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January–March, 2004

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