Share the compassion

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The story of the Good Samaritan is a biblical passage, a parable, delivered by Jesus, about what it means to be a neighbor.

The message comes from the New Testament, but the lesson is one that can be embraced by any good person, regardless of religious persuasion.

The parable tells of a man who was mugged and left on the road, beaten and weak. Three men pass by the victim, but only one -- the Samaritan, the least likely to have anything in common with the victim -- actually stopped to help.

The Samaritan, according to the scripture, was the true neighbor.

The Southeast Missourian is celebrating the Good Samaritans in Southeast Missouri by lifting up those who help others. Oftentimes, helping another person takes an act of sacrifice. Sometimes it's just a matter of doing the right thing.

In today's paper, you'll find several small snippets of people who have shared their Good Samaritan stories (chronicles, we're calling them) in our Good Times section.

Every day in the news business, we report on controversy or crimes or politics. These are important things. They are what make the news. But they are not what make a community. We believe that here and elsewhere there more good deeds done every day than bad ones. Sending a card to a sick friend. Sending a message on Facebook that encourages someone going through a tough time. Raising money for a cause. Serving food to someone in need. Coaching a Little League team. Visiting someone in the hospital or nursing home. The acts of kindness that happen every day, not just here but throughout our country, are so common and happen so naturally that it's easy not to notice. Instead, tragedy and politics, crime and controversy overcome our optimism. But let's not forget. The story of the Good Samaritan was not a crime story. It was a story of compassion and doing the right thing.

We believe we belong in a compassionate community, and that the overwhelming majority of our readers do neighborly things nearly every day. We would be thrilled at some point in this project for our submitted Good Samaritan Chronicles to outpace the number of entries on the police blotter. Can you help us? Please read today's snippets on Page 1C for a taste of the good that's being shared in the Good Samaritan Chronicles project. We know there's so much more goodness out there. Consider the neighborly things that another person has helped you with along the way. It will only take a couple of minutes. We need less than 150 words. Share those acts and those Samaritans with us. Go to semissourian.com/goodsamaritanchronicles to find out how.

Thanks to those who have already shared the compassion of the community. And thanks in advance to those who will share more today.

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