The Spanish Good Samaritan (1 John 3:17-18)

Most of us are familiar with the Good Samaritan law. Based upon the story in the Bible of a Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) who unselfishly helps an injured traveler, the laws differ in various countries but all have the premise to protect the person, who renders aid to an injured person, from legal prosecution for unintentional injury or wrongful death.

During my recent visit to Spain, I learned that their Good Samaritan law has a slightly different interpretation. While the law does protect the person who attempts to help a victim, it goes one step further. If you have medical training and/or fail to render assistance, you can be held liable for NOT rendering aid. In other words, the law looks beyond mere actions and holds one’s intentions accountable.

Isn’t that what Jesus was attempting to illustrate in the story of the Samaritan? What does it mean to love someone as your neighbor? Isn’t it mere lip service to state that you care for the needy and hungry and then turn away to the opposite direction when confronted with such suffering?

But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:17-18

God is asking us to examine the motives in our heart whenever we are confronted with the world’s needs. Our words must be backed up with our actions. An error of omission is the same as an error of commission. Allow God to transform your life and open your eyes to see the world the way that He sees us.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.