A Modern Retelling of Luke 10:25-37:
A young seminary student asked his professor, “Who is my neighbor?” The professor told this story.
A young Christian woman was nearing completion of college, when the leader of her Bible study asked her on a date. Impressed by his significant knowledge of the Bible, clean language, nice friends, and firm boundaries around alcohol, she thought herself fortunate to be in a relationship with him. So she married him. But within weeks of the marriage, his attacks began. She decorated their new home to save money, but instead of being thankful he disparaged her and said she was “not being submissive” for making some decorating choices on her own. This was the beginning of the attacks.
When she argued back, holes in the wall started to appear. Her money was now drained on counseling costs and medical bills from the autoimmune conditions she now had. She started telling Christian friends and Bible study leaders at her church that she was being verbally abused and physically intimidated, and they expressed quick sympathy without solutions saying things like, “Love one another,” “I know a good marriage counselor,” and “Perhaps think about what you’re doing to provoke him.” Her heart and health were bleeding, but she stayed in Bible studies and counseling. She now confided in church elders and Christian counselors saying, “I don’t think I can take it any longer,” but she was warned about what the “Bible says” about divorce for reasons other than infidelity. It was even suggested that maybe her illness was being self-manifested to bring attention from her husband.
Finally, she read an article from a Christian woman who had been shunned by the church after she had left her marriage because of abuse. She was an outcast and labelled as “crazy” by some of the Christian leaders she had followed, but this woman offered to help her. She didn’t just give her advice; she gave practical help that brought healing. She sent her to counselors who would treat her – not just her marriage. She helped her find a new home and pay for her legal bills. The woman healed emotionally and physically.
Then the professor said, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the woman whose life was robbed by abuse?” The seminary student replied, “The one who had mercy on her.” The professor told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Are there people you might consider untouchable and “unclean?” People you are afraid of touching because of fear of breaking God’s “law” and becoming “unclean” yourself?