I want to share a story with my Christian readers about a young man I call our Muslim “Good Samaritan.” (“Good Samaritan” is an expression for “a compassionate person who unselfishly helps others, especially strangers”) Why tell this story of our interaction with this young man? It’s easy. It’s simply because some Christians – sadly. . .and sinfully – have few good thoughts about Muslims (it pains me to write those words but it is true). I want to change that! I have met so many Muslims in the U.S. and overseas who are a whole lot like those of you who call yourselves Christians: they just want to make a living, raise children, and live in peace. They are generally kind, hospitable, decent people who seek to please God with how they live their lives.
So. . .here is the story of our Muslim “Good Samaritan.” While in Jordan this winter, my wife and I went to one of the most amazing places in the Middle East: Petra (see pics here from various trips).
We had taken a bus to Petra from Amman, Jordan which was over three hours away. When it was time to return, we missed the bus (long story). I actually ran to catch it and saw a young man ahead of me who was running faster. I recognized him from being on the bus and yelled to him to ask him if he would hold the bus for us. He said he would but when we got to the place where the bus was to take us back, it was gone. . .and so was the young man!
We were totally out of breath from running and totally perplexed as to what to do to get back to Amman without paying a huge fee for a taxi. After about 5 minutes, a taxi sped into the parking lot coming to a screeching stop right beside us. In the passenger seat was the young man — Omar. He had caught a taxi to chase down the bus but instead of easily doing that and saving himself a lot of time, money, and hassle, he remembered us and came back for us. He had kept his promise! After a 20 minute ride by the speeding taxi driver, we caught up with the bus and got back on using our original tickets. We had spent the last of the money we had with us so Omar paid the taxi driver too!
Our Muslim “Good Samaritan” – “a compassionate person who unselfishly helps others, especially strangers” – had rescued us!
Again, for those of you who are reading this post who think of yourselves as Christians, I want you to see that Omar practiced the “love your neighbor” teaching of Jesus regarding the Good Samaritan in the New Testament Bible story of Luke 10:25-37. In that story, the last person the Jews expected to take care of the beaten man was a “Samaritan.” I think many Christians in the 21st century are kind of like Jesus’ Jewish listeners in the 1st century – filled with prejudice, too easily influenced by stereotypes, and afraid of people who they think are “not like us.” Sadly, they can’t believe a “Muslim” would do something to help a non-Muslim at their own inconvenience or cost.
I am here to tell you that they can.
Like this young “Good Samaritan,” they do.
I love them for it.
I love Muslims.
Postscript: I first published this story in 2012. With all the bad news about ISIS and terrorism by “lone-wolf” jihadists in America and elsewhere right now, I felt it was time again for some good news. A good story about a good Muslim young man.