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The Hardest Parable

Updated on January 3, 2016
lawrence01 profile image

Loving God and loving mankind is an important part of who I am, in these hubs we explore what it's like to really follow Jesus.

They're all in the book

The teachings of Jesus, aren't for the faint hearted.
The teachings of Jesus, aren't for the faint hearted.

The way he taught

have you ever stopped and thought about the way Jesus used things to teach lessons? He pretty much used whatever he had to hand to teach what he wanted the people then (and by extension us) to know about the Kingdom of God and how it operates.

He was a master storyteller and loved to tell stories to demonstrate his point, there's one story that he told that over the years has literally 'burned' itself into my soul and while there are times when I 'blow it' I just can't get away from the way he wasn't mincing his words when he told the story. It's a parable that those of us who went to Sunday school learned all about the story and thought it was a really 'cool' story, I can also guarantee anyone who's a regular church attendee will have heard hundreds of stories on this parable and wach one is great, but hardly ever gets to the bottom of the story.

I'm actually going to try not to mention the parable itself in this hub as I want to leave you to think what it might be, but I'm going to tell you why it's burned itself into my soul, and it's not a story I'm all that comfortable with as, well you'll see why!


My Parable lessons

Kurdish Children in Turkey
Kurdish Children in Turkey | Source

Where and when

For me the biggest lesson came in 1996, I'd been working among the Kurds in Iraq for about three years and was absolutely 'in my element' if you know what I mean, I was absolutely loving being there and loving what I was doing, but it was all about to go pear shaped big time, and would leave me with a lesson about Jesus' parables that I don't think I can ever lay aside!

Back then I was there with a Christian development organization helping the Kurds to rebuild their lives after the devastation of the war that was Desert Storm, since that time Saddam the tyrant had been forced out of the North of Iraq and a supposed safe haven created for the Kurds.


Northern Iraq at the time

show route and directions
A markerIrbil, Iraq -
Erbil, Iraq
get directions

My first three months in Iraq spent here

B markerZakho Iraq -
Zakho, Iraq
get directions

The first casualty of war. TRUTH!

The reality was it was never safe, yes there was protection from Saddam, and the multinational force was diligent keeping him in check, but there were others meddling in the region and there was pretty much constant fighting for most of the time that I was there, the main thing was we knew where the fighting was going on!

"What has this to do with Jesus' parables" I can hear you thinking, well wait and see.

We'd been working up in a valley that ran just inside the border from Turkey, the valley ran east to west and was an absolutely amazing place, when Saddam had turned the gunships against his own this was the valley everyone fled to, this was the valley that they abandoned their cars and took any donkey that was available just to get over the mountain and into Turkey, it was also a place where the Kurds from Turkey also operated and they'd been fighting a guerrilla war against Turkey for about thirty years!

One time the team was on the way to the village we were working in when they came across an injured man, so they stopped and helped the man, nothing special, but just the kind of thing that you'd expect a Christian to do right?

What it's all about

Here's a question!

Here's a question for you, now take a while to think about this as your answer will define who you really are.

What if the helping puts your own life in danger?

What if the guy turns out to be a nasty piece of work, or even worse A TERRORIST??


These aren't idle questions! It's what happened! The day the team stopped to help the guy, I wasn't with them but they told me all about it that night, the injuries were bullet wounds and the guy had been shot!

We knew straight away the man was a Turkish Kurd who'd been wounded, we just took him to a Hospital right? Not according to Middle Eastern custom, we'd crossed a line and aided a Terrorist!! (at least that's the way some would see it!)

AND I'M PROUD THE TEAM DID THAT DAY!!!

Aftermath

Two months later everything went seriously 'pear shaped' as Saddam retook Erbil (a city I'd spent six months in at the start) and no one knew what was going on, two weeks later the 'safe haven' was no more and the only advice we got from the Military was "Get out NOW!"

The moment we crossed into Turkey we were followed by the intelligence service of Turkey and they followed us for about two hundred miles, the next morning I got a visit from the kind of people you don't want to get visits from

They kept me for about twelve hours interrogating me about the man the team had helped. It turned out that the man had been shot by Special forces who were waiting to see who would come to help him. when we turned up we got full marks for aiding and abetting Terrorists!

By the way the situation was "We know you aided the Terrorist, when we confirm it was you we'll take you back and a seven ounce piece of lead from a 7.62mm calibre bullet exiting an AK47 will make sure you don't leave!

Later that day they confirmed they had the right vehicle but the person was a few years older than me (it was actually a visitor to the Team driving that day).

Here's why!

Here's why I tell the story, Jesus knew when he told the parable to the locals at the time he knew that there was aslo the principle of 'blood money' that basically said that if you aid and help someone who then either dies 'on your watch' or commits a horrible crime then you are responsible!

When the Samaritan took the man to the inn he ran the risk that the man might die and he'd have to pay serious compensation to the family, otherwise he might pay for it with his own life!

Also there's the possibility that the man was actually the kind of man you might not want to meet on that journey and if he went on to do illegal stuff (remember Jesus had disciples who were regarded as Terrorists by the Romans, one of his closest was known as 'the Zealot' and he had others who were known as collaborators!!).

Here's why the parable is so hard to live out, because in it he tells us that truly following him requires radical and dangerous thinking in the way we reach out and actually "LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR"

Conclusion

Part of me really doesn't want to include the story I've put in the hub, it's not a story I've told that often even to those who know me but this last few weeks it's as if the Lord God himself has been saying "Lawrence, I gave you the experience for you to use for me! If you hold back then who else will tell my people to take care of my children!"

What would Jesus really do?

Put youself in this situation

You've found someone who needs help, but there might be danger to you, not immediate, but he might be a criminal, what do you do?

See results

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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 17 months ago

      A powerful story and an interesting take on The Good Samaritan parable.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Faith

      Thank you for the kind words. As I was reading them I remembered the words I read from a Rabbi "LORD I know we're the chosen people, but do you think you could sometimes choose someone else!"/

      Seriously though you are right about sharing the experiences. Have a good weekend.

      Lawrence

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 18 months ago from southern USA

      Hi Lawrence, I think when we have such experiences in life, we should share them for they are powerful. You've had a lot of interesting experiences it seems in this life that are not the norm to most. Thank you for sharing to His glory. God bless you

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Deb

      The whole incident almost caused a diplomatic row between Britain and Turkey (a guy we'd helped over the border that day turned out to know people in the British 'Foreign office' and when I didn't make a meeting that day he got the Embassy and the Foriegn office involved)

      but it's not something I'd like to go through again!

      Lawrence

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Now that was quite an adventure.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Thank you for your encouragement. I just remind myself Jesus loves us no matter what

      Lawrence

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 19 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Lawrence,

      I'm glad you followed God and published your story. It brings things to life in a way that only first-hand experience can. Thanks for this post. Looking forward to more!

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Rich

      All those things are true, but the Geneva convention only applies to war between two states. It doesn't apply to internal conflicts within nations as they most often aren't classed as 'war'

      The terms used are things like 'counter insurgency operation' or 'localized conflict' where one side often doesn't posses a uniform let alone wear it (that's a condition of the Geneva convention and its application, the combatants have to be wearing a uniform!)

      However the hub was more a look at the teaching of Jesus and just how much of a challenge it is to follow!

      I'm glad you pointed out some things in the USA as with the storms in the Midwest I can imagine a lot of folks in need of help. My prayer is they'll get it

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Damien.

      So true, Jesus does tell us to love one another and gave us a tremendous example of that love, but it doesn't make it any easier!

      Glad you enjoyed the hub

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Mel

      One of the other hubbers suggested that I make a small change to the poll and I think it was a good one as the truth is none of us really know what we'll do in that situation!

      Part of the reason for writing is we meet people who need help every day yet we don't know anything about them! Jesus tells us to love them anyway!

      I found out the hard way about the 'blood money' principle and only 'connected the dots' later.

      Happy new year

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Thanks for the visit. Thankfully we're not all put in situations like the one I talked about, but I think God sees our hearts and he knows us better than we know ourselves!

      When I wrote the hub it was a bit of a challenge as to how we respond to the things we see happening, there's another side to it in that the person we're helping might also be one of the 'Angels' the book of Hebrews talks about!

      For me, there were a few times when Kurdish strangers put themselves in danger to help me!

      Happy new year.

      Lawrence

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 19 months ago from The Ekklesia

      Article 6 of the 1864 Geneva Convention provides: ... the principle that “wounded and ill persons must be helped and protected in all circumstances”.

      I also got to thinking about the "blood money" mentioned. When a person knows in his heart (because of who they are in Christ) they help because it is the correct thing to do. The existence of a blood money "thing" should have no effect what so ever on the one called in their heart to help. When questioned by Jesus even the "bad guys" knew the correct answer.

      When I reported for duty in Italy (1987) we were told in our briefings that if we did not stop and render assistance we could go to jail. They tell all the new comers to country this because in America things are just about opposite. They are opposite because in America the courts intertain law suits when they should in fact be tossed out of court. The hot coffee spill at McDonalds is a perfect example.

    • Damian10 profile image

      Damian 19 months ago from Naples

      Lawrence ... Incredible Hub ... Incredible story and incredible lesson.

      There are times when helping another can be quite difficult yet we are taught by Jesus that it is exactly what we should do. It may not always be popular or in your story even safe to do so. We should still do it though. We need only think about how much God loves us. It is enormous.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Kingdomcome

      Thanks for the visit, you're right about trying to understand the Bible in its cultural context, it's something we need to be careful of when we're quoting scripture, making sure we quote it in the way it was first meant to be understood!

      As for the 'blood money' principle I'd known about it some but no one ever told me it would apply in this situation, I found out after! when I shared what happened with another missionary!

      Happy new year

      Lawrence

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

      I'm afraid to vote, because having never been in that situation I'm not sure what I do. I would love to say I would do the right thing but...?

      A wounded man is a wounded man, not a terrorist or anything else. Maybe by helping him, if he survives he rethinks his philosophy of life. Who knows?

      I never knew that the parable of the Good Samaritan also contained the principle of blood money. It makes a good moral choice even more difficult, doesn't it?

      Great hub and Happy New Year!

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Tsadjatko

      Thanks for the visit. I'll make the change later today as I'm back at the 'day job' today.

      The concept of the 'blood money' is still alive in most Middle Eastern countries and it affects different things, in some places you can actually be charged with aiding criminals if you do as little as give a loaf of bread to someone who later commits a criminal act! Jesus was telling us to take that risk!

      Happy new yeat

      Lawrence

    • Rich kelley profile image

      Rich Kelley 19 months ago from The Ekklesia

      When you are in the world (Iraq) but not of the world you will be brought before leaders from time to time. Some times it may be religious leaders, it maybe a religious person, it may be kings, or just a team of investigators working for a king. For anyone to question the helping of an injured man tells all you need to know about their intelligence and investigative ability. They should have known exactly who you were, and by questioning you the way you told the story makes one believe they really had no idea or did they? Either way the help of an injured person is required by the rules of war that Americans and most others at war follow.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Beautiful message, Lawrence, and bless you for the choice you made. It seems like a simple choice of one human helping another in need, but I wonder just how many people would make the "right" choice in that situation?

    • profile image

      KingdomCome 19 months ago from those of the Ecclesia

      tsadjatko- I like your comment. I could not have said it better myself. Taking bible verses or parables from the bible out of context is a sure way of misleading people. The only "blood money" I'm aware of is the 30 pieces of silver Judas received to betray Jesus.

      I guess this was the kind of understanding he got of the parable by just skimming through that page of the bible.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 19 months ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      Boy Lawrence, thumbs up, I wasn't aware of the "blood money" aspect of the parable of the good Samaritan. That really puts a heavy spin on the whole story and demonstrates how just reading the Bible can be taking it out of context, the context of the culture and the times in which it was written. All the more reason why the Bible needs not just to be read but studied and researched in the context of the entire book and culture of the times to ascertain the true meaning of what a scripture says. We should be thankful that we live in a time when many believers who have gone before us have done just that for our benefit.

      The only thing I would change about your hub page is I would add this to your poll.

      (4) Pray for discernment from the Holy Spirit before acting on the situation trusting God for His protection.

      What Jesus would do is not always the same thing Jesus would have us do, but thank you a thousand times for sharing your story, that has impressed this parable in my mind in a whole new way.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Word55

      Thanks for the encouragement. I'd only just posted the hub when the phone beeped that you'd visited! I was stunned and thrilled! Happy new year to you too.

      Lawrence

    • word55 profile image

      Word 19 months ago from Chicago

      Hey, Happy New Year Lawrence. This was another incredible truth. Keep up the good work buddy.