There was a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho who fell prey to robbers. They stripped him, beat him, and then went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road; but he saw him and continued on. Likewise there was a Levite who came the same way; he saw him and went on. But a Samaritan who was journeying along came on him and was moved to pity at the sight. He approached him and dressed his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. He then hoisted him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, where he cared for him. The next day he took out two silver pieces and gave them to the innkeeper with the request: "Look after him, and if there is any further expense, I will repay you on my way back."
"Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man who fell in with the robbers?" The answer came, "The one who treated him with compassion." Jesus said to him, "Then go and do the same."
Luke 10: 30-37
The story is familiar enough. You needn't be especially devout to recognize it. The expression has passed into common usage: a good Samaritan: someone who helps others in need. To us, all Samaritans are good. We like to identify with the Samaritan or, at least, think of him as one of "us."
If we do, we have missed an important point of the parable.
To Jesus's audience, all Samaritans were, by definition, bad. Samaritans were not us, but them. Think for a minute. Whom do you despise? A race, a class, an individual? Your answer matters only in that it must be someone you can't stand. Make your choice.
That person is the Samaritan.
Choose two people you truly admire. People who represent, for you, the best among us.
They are the priest and the Levite.
Choose someone you love. Let that person be the man who fell in among the robbers.
Now read the parable again.