Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Good Samaritan

Our Sunday School class has been studying the parables of Jesus and today we discussed the well known tale of The Good Samaritan. I think even most non-church goers are at least a little bit familiar with this one as it has been absorbed into our culture and our vocabulary. Love your neighbor. Put words into action. Do good without judgement or expectation of reward.

There has been a lot of talk of unity in recent days, or perhaps the lack thereof would be a more accurate statement, and I was thinking about that word as we talked this morning about loving our neighbor and what that means. Caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, practically helping those in need seems far easier right now than getting along with someone from an opposing political party who shouts, judges, and lectures you via their social media feed, doesn't it? 

In the same way we can't make someone volunteer in a food bank, donate to charity, or build houses for the homeless, we cannot demand unity simply by declaring that it must be. Unity cannot be dictated, and it's not something that magically happens because of a shift in political power.  

Unity is an action word. It requires intent. It means listening to people who say you're wrong and they're right and why can't you just see that you're wrong??? and that is hard. So hard. 

Of course we want to respond when we feel verbally attacked or belittled. We feel an almost primal urge to counter their words with words of our own. Tell them why they're wrong and we're right and we can prove it this very second with an article, meme or post of our own. 

In 2021 we seem unable to not engage. 

We can't put the genie back in the bottle so how do we get there? How do we cross the seemingly uncrossable chasm that's ruptured life in America? 

Maybe we can brainstorm here because I feel certain the answer doesn't lie with a committee, a body of elected officials, or the President of the United States. I think it's going to come from ordinary citizens who don't compromise their faith or their strongly held beliefs but who don't argue them to death either. 

It might even look like having coffee with a neighbor, from six feet away if you must, but still you have that coffee. 

It's definitely less words, which may seem hypocritical coming from someone with a blog, but I'm referring to angry, self-righteous words spewed carelessly across Facebook pages and twitter rants or sadly in some cases around holiday dinner tables. 

I think it will involve quiet examination of our own souls (no need to announce it to the world) and a whole lot less public dissection of the souls of others. Everybody's got a log in their eye that needs removing so maybe we start with our own?

It could mean deleting apps from our phones and demonstrating good old-fashioned restraint, something that used to be common but has most definitely fallen by the wayside in the last decade or so. 

It probably means making the hard but conscious decision to keep some of our opinions to ourselves, and for the love of all things holy to quit sharing every but!, but! but!...we want to share. 

I think it means we talk about the weather. I'm serious. The weather is rarely confrontational and we could do with less confrontation right about now. 

It's grabbing some tennis shoes or hiking boots, a swim suit or a pair of skis, and getting outside. Removing ourselves from the noise and everything else that distracts from the beauty of this earth. It's choosing to see, experience, and share the good more than we share our opinions about the bad. Call that naive, call it wearing rose colored glasses if you want, but getting along is going to involve letting go of some things we've held in our tightly clenched fists for a long time now. 

I know for certain an essential part of the way forward is prayer. For the ones you love and the ones you 'hate'. Maybe you don't pray and perhaps that sounds trite or cliche to you, but prayer changes hearts and minds, our own most of all. 

How about we try being verbal good samaritans and let's see if we can make that go viral. 


  1. Thank you for the reminder. I know I have trouble with staying quiet at times, and I struggle because I believe that God wants me to stand up for the poor, the disenfranchised, the ones who have been abused or forgotten. I want to 'live out' my faith. I want to be a 24-7 Christian. What's the children's song? Don't hide it under a bushel? I'm gonna let it shine! In these times it's hard to share the shine because so many think it's fake, or a personal attempt to be better than others. Joyce, I agree that we need to be a Good Samaritan.... and not to walk by and not help when needed. How to do it these days of CoVid challenges me to be that way AND stay safe. and it keeps me in front of my computer screen too long.

    1. There are so many ways to be a light in this world, but I need someone to explain to me how people expressing their opinions as fact, then labeling those who disagree, as doing anything in the way of drawing others to Jesus. I am just not seeing how social media feeds help the forgotten, abused, poor. I'm suggesting every one quiet down, quit responding,see how that goes. We are not curing the injustices of this world via social media.

  2. Yes, Joyce. An excellent post and it kind of goes along with the word I chose just today, while at church, for my 2021 word. Quiet. I want my heart to be quiet. Yes to quiet conversations without blame. Coffee with friends. Prayers, prayers, and more prayers. Thank you for this confirmation that I am not alone!

  3. Completely agree with every word of this. Thanks for posting!

  4. Sister, our pastor taught from a different passage but essentially the message was the same. Living in light of all the calls for unity are misplaced if we are not engaging in small ways that actually bring unity. Exactly what you're saying about a little coffee date. Regardless of who is in the White House our houses must pursue His righteousness for His glory. :)

  5. Our Sunday School class started a series on the Parables, too, and yesterday it began with The Good Samaritan. Hmm...

  6. Well, I think this needs to be read to our nation as it so full of the truth!!! You said it so well, as you always do. May 2021 see our wonderful country and its people UNITE. I pray to that end and pray that it will begin with ME.

  7. Once a man was ask “what do gain by praying to God”? The man replied “nothing, but I lost anger, greed, insecurity, and fear”. I think about this slot during times like these.

  8. You raise some very important facts and solutions we could try. Definitely getting away from social media would be a plus. I definitely need to get outside more too! Always uplifting reading your posts.

  9. Love what you said here. I myself have thought a lot about this, certainly after watching a video where a guy goes out on the street and asks a bunch of people how they can unify and in the end, they didn't want to budge on anything and it turned out, they had no interest in coming together! I have been very conscious of how much news I am reading and have pulled way back from social media. It's very freeing to focus more on the here and now; the in-person real life stuff.