“He answered ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27
What would it take to live out our faith and pursue reconciliation? Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil believes that compassion is an important aspect of reconciliation and the Christian way of life. She points us to the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.
“There was a man beat up on the road, who was left half-dead. The Jewish Levite leader passed him by, the priest passed him by, but a Samaritan actually comes and helps him and gives him an aid.”
There was an ethnic divide between Samaritans and Jewish people during this time.
“Now what’s amazing about this story is, from an ethnic perspective, the man who got beat up on the road was taking a very dangerous route because he didn’t want to go through some area, and so he took his chances with getting beat up by thugs and robbers, as opposed to being in Samaria.”
“But then in the story, a Samaritan is the person who actually comes and gives him aid. He does it, even though he knows that this man has probably gotten in this trouble because he’s avoiding his people, but the Scripture says he felt compassion.”
Dr. McNeil describes how we can cultivate compassion in our lives as we engage one another.
“Compassion is not this kind sigh; compassion is something that’s gut-wrenching. The word in the Greek means gut-busting; something broke in that man’s gut.”
“It’s to say, ‘If that was my daughter, I wouldn’t want that to happen to her.’ That leads to the moments of compassion, civility, being able to listen to each other at a level of not trying to win the argument, but basically just having compassion for each other.”
As believers, we have the opportunity to extend the love, grace and compassion of Christ to those in need on a daily basis. Dr. McNeil shares her personal insight:
“Jesus has always used a small remnant – this is going to be the day of the mustard seed. I don’t think it’s going to be a big crowd of us who tries to take this away. Remember, Jesus says that the way that leads to destruction is broad; lots of people are going to choose it. But the way that leads to life, and really does lead toward the kingdom of God, they’re not going to be as many people who choose that route.”
“I hope those of us that receive this message, that they’ll be a few of us who will say, ‘I’ll take that lonely road; I won’t take the road of popular opinion, I will not join the bandwagon but I do believe this gospel that Jesus preached, and I’m going to walk that road. It may be the road less traveled, but I’m going to walk on it.’”
Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is a dynamic speaker, author and trailblazer with over twenty-five years of experience in the ministry of reconciliation. Her mission is to inspire, equip and empower emerging Christian leaders to be practitioners of reconciliation in their various spheres of influence around the world.