YOU’VE tried myriad times and ways to forgive a person, so now you’re open to anything God might use. Finally, when we’ve tried seemingly everything we come to be ready to face what God has led us to.
Jesus uses the Good Samaritans in our life to reveal the Pharisee within us. What Jesus is getting to, as a central tenet of the Good Samaritan parable, is the hardest thing for our flesh to accept:
… that God is for the person who has hurt us deeply. God is not just for us! God is not a side-taker.
If Jesus were telling us the parable we might expect Him to identify our Samaritan – that person we have a bias against or cannot or will not forgive – and make them the hero of the story. Wow, imagine in our resentment that Jesus is putting the acid on us. That’s not the Jesus of our ego, is it? But He is the real Jesus. Such a good friend, He will trust us enough to challenge us with what we don’t want to hear.
Can we be thankful before God when an ‘enemy’ does a good work in His name?
That’s hard, isn’t it? Anyone who thinks that’s easy has perhaps never been bitterly hurt. If we don’t believe an enemy is capable of such good works as the Samaritan did then we are the ones with the problem. When they do that good work, God will render our bitterness as shame. And we will either be polarised further into our futile corner, or we will be convicted to repent. The latter is always a miracle of God’s grace; a conviction of the Holy Spirit surrendered to.
When we’re given the grace to forgive someone who has been a thorn in our side, the road to reconciliation is immediately halfway paved. But because they don’t feel the same compassion, from grace to bitterness we can sometimes slide. We need to acknowledge that our hearts are ever vulnerable.
Bizarre as it is, the Good Samaritan looks far beyond their own prejudice. They look at the half dead person and see not an enemy, but the person’s humanity. They see the person as God sees them. The Good Samaritan is convicted by the Royal Law implicit within him. The Golden Rule stands as its own testimony of his actions.
Forgiveness is easier when we understand God’s justice. He is for both us and them.