A Parable for Domestic Violence
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
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.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A woman was coming to church every week, many times with bruises on her arms and an occasional black eye almost hidden by makeup. She was quiet and reserved and tentatively smiled when spoken to. She brought her children with her most Sundays but never stayed for any of the activities after the service, she always had to go right home. On the Sundays her husband would come with her, she was even more quiet and withdrawn and kept her eyes focused to the floor.
One day the woman came into the church even more disheveled than usual. Her hands shook and she winced when she walked to her pew. No one said anything to her, as they didn’t want to get in her business. The pastor shook her hand and looked over her head to say hello to one of the other members and didn’t notice her tears. The head of the woman’s group pointed out to another friend how awful the woman looked that day and wondered if something was wrong- but didn’t say anything to the woman.
A few days after that a member of the prayer group called the church office to report that a prayer request had been made for this woman who had been severely beaten and was being picked up at home by an ambulance. The outlook wasn’t good.
The police had arrested her husband and he was in handcuffs on his way to the police station.
Which of these do you think was a neighbor to the woman?”
The expert in the law said, “No one. No one had mercy on her.”
Jesus said, “Go and do better.”
by Rev. Sandi Hire