Be a good Samaritan

Looking to God, divine Love, to guide us, we can find practical ways to be “good Samaritans” in helping individuals and our cities thrive.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
Loading the player...

My husband and I were walking down the beautiful new RiverWalk in our city of Detroit. The area used to be considered unsafe, so we were pleasantly in awe of this now vibrant and well-tended public walkway.

Soon we came upon a group of young girls playing and haphazardly kicking rocks onto the pathway. A jogger stopped to kindly ask them not to do that, explaining that there were many bikers and runners using the path, and someone could get hurt if they ran into a rock. The girls quickly apologized and began helping him clear the path. Here, I thought, were some good Samaritans!

The parable of the good Samaritan comes from the Bible, but its message still resonates as a call to civic responsibility today. In the biblical account, Christ Jesus discusses with “a certain lawyer” how the two most important commandments are to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (see Luke 10:25-37). To illustrate who qualifies as a neighbor, Jesus proceeds to tell this parable.

In short, a man traveling on foot had been attacked and left to die by the side of the road. Individually, a couple of passersby avoided helping him by crossing to the other side of the road. But a man from Samaria stopped to help him. He bandaged his wounds and brought him to an inn to rest.

When issues arise, it can be tempting to believe that it’s someone else’s problem – much like the actions of those who “passed by on the other side” indicated. And when the problem concerns the decline of our major cities, it can be tempting to blame institutions such as the local government or the police, or even attribute it to the global pandemic.

Christ Jesus’ parable, however, illustrates that we are all neighbors, all interconnected and reliant on each other. It is everyone’s concern to love and care for our fellow citizens and for the surroundings in which we live. God, who is divine Love, freely gives to all. So, as His children, we naturally possess this same ability to unhesitatingly care for each other.

This impartial Love and its very practical help is at the heart of the global church established by Mary Baker Eddy, who also founded this news organization. As she explains in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action” (p. 454). This impactful Love works in each of us and is available to heal the wounds of one person or an entire city.

A few years ago I was frustrated by the state of decline in Detroit, and inwardly I blamed our lagging inner-city schools. For years I had thought of becoming a mentor to a student but had kept putting it off, feeling as though my time could be better served praying for the whole community rather than just helping one student. Nevertheless, continuing to feel impelled to help, I finally signed up with a program to mentor a middle school girl from an impoverished neighborhood.

One month later, the pandemic closed our schools, leaving many inner-city children behind as they lacked the resources or support at home to keep up with online school. But this student and I kept in touch regularly so we were able to discern her practical needs. At first, she felt discouraged and alone. But, trusting divine Love to guide both of us, I was able to encourage her with the knowledge that she was very cared for and always had a place to turn for help.

This student eventually thrived during the shutdown, bringing up her grades and earning admittance into the best high school in the city. Divine Love had inspired and led the way to meet her needs. Deciding not to “pass” on this spiritual impulse to love my neighbor confirmed for me the power of every individual expression of God’s infinite and inevitably healing love.

Now, a few young people moving rocks off the sidewalk or an adult mentoring a young student may not alone be the solution to the challenges facing Detroit or any other city. But each such act is an indication of Love operating in human consciousness and practically meeting individual needs. Instead of lamenting the challenges, we can daily celebrate, in each city, every evidence of God’s loving and healing action.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Be a good Samaritan
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today