Jonah 1:1-11; Jonah 2:3-8; Luke 10:25-37
From Jesus’ story about the man who was victimized by the robbers and helped by a Samaritan, I see a new meaning to the word “mercy”. Mercy is not just feeling sympathy for someone but goes deeper beyond that point. It is also before there is a need to forgive. It is accepting a person’s capacity and weakness and maximizing to get the best out of the person. It is also transforming your thoughts triggered by God’s compassion within you into action.
In the case of the good Samaritan, he appeared to be a busy person, and yet he did his best to help the injured man who was beaten by the robbers, unlike the priest and the Levite, who showed lackadaisical mercy, wasted no time in doing their daily chores. They might have felt pity for the man but they nevertheless didn’t help him out due to lack of time for their chores and duties, or didn’t want to get involved in any trouble caused by other people, or they might have other selfish reasons. God does not seek thoughts and words of kindness alone, within humankind, but rather acts of compassion that overflow from the heart, possessed with God’s love as well.
The Samaritan, recognizing his own limitations in time but knowing his own capacity to help, did the best that he could do during that moment. He dressed his wounds and took him to the inn and even offered to pay for all the expenses of the man while he goes off to work first. His compassion didn’t end there. He even made a vow to come back to the inn after doing his chores to pay for whatever additional expenses that the man may have incurred while he was at work.
Mercy is not a one-time gesture, but a lifetime commitment as an act of faith to God. We must not choose who to help, but rather help anyone whom we can help within our capacity. When you help, make sure you get the best out of that person as well. Relieving a person of a hard task is not showing mercy if that person has the capacity to do the task. When you do this, you are robbing the person of the opportunity to learn something valuable that he could benefit from, to become a better person.
Sometimes, a person has to go through hardship on his own rather than be spoon-fed in order for him to discover new things about himself and his capacity to do such wonderful things. When we help a person achieve this, we are showing true compassion for the person by helping him.