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Tim Keller's "Sequel" to the Good Samaritan

We're all familiar with the parable of the Good Samaritan. A despised Samaritan stops to help a man who has been beaten by robbers. One of the main lessons is: your neighbor is anyone in need. Now, go about the world looking to meet needs.

With this in mind, in his book Generous Justice, Tim Keller encourages us to consider a "sequel" to the parable. Imagine that the next day the Samaritan is traveling the road again, and comes across another person bleeding on the side of the road. A few weeks later, this happens again. And then again. As it turns out, every time he makes the trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, he comes across another person laying in the road. Then he looks up, and sees hundreds of people likewise lying along the road, beaten and robbed. What should he do? This is the question of social transformation.

When you see one person in need, you help. When you see multitudes in need, you of course still give whatever direct help you can, but if you are truly to love your neighbor as yourself, you also need to give thought to how you can address the underlying conditions that are causing so many people to fall into that situation in the first place.

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