Are you ‘Christian’ enough to be awkward for Christ? Hmmm. Let me repeat that, “Are you ‘Christian’ enough to be awkward for Christ?” This idea has ran in and out of my thoughts for the last month or so.
What do I mean? Elaborate. OK, I will try.
In John 14:15 we read, “If ye love me, then keep my commandments.”
And in 1 Corinthians 13:13. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Then there is Luke 10:25-37.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Note that a denarius in verse 35 was equal to the daily wage for a day laborer. The Samaritan gave denarii (plural) in order to properly meet the needs of both, the injured man & the innkeeper.
There are moments in society where good Christian men move in humble acts of love serving God, as they know of His love towards them and the desire God has for them when encountering a need such as this Good Samaritan to pass the love along.
Usually in those moments we are moved at our core and filled with admiration and compassion. Why?
Just watch the Hallmark channel at Christmas and tell me you can do it without being moved.
Why are we so moved when love is truly shown through sacrifices?
You know the thing that gets me about the story of the Good Samaritan most?
It didn’t actually happen. It’s merely an illustration of the actual virtue-love. It is in response to the man asking Jesus who his neighbor was. An ethical question. I can sense by the scripture representation that a self-conscious superiority was at play here in the man’s tone. He wanted literal proximity perhaps. He wanted it revealed to him to what barrier was he obligated to love his neighbor as himself.
See Jericho was one of the priestly cities, so that there would be frequent travellers on a variation of errands. The priest was coming from Jerusalem, so he could not plead a ‘pressing public engagement’ at the Temple. I feel the repetition of the description regarding the conduct of both the priest and the Levite serves to suggest it was a common act. They both did exactly the same thing, and so would twenty or two hundred ordinary passers by.
They saw the man lying in a pool of blood and, even in the face of such a sight, went on their way. Maybe they said to themselves, ‘Robbers again; the sooner we get past this dangerous bit, the better.’ We see here that they were heartless, but do you think they saw it?
Don’t we do the exact same thing ourselves, and do not see that we do? How many of us have witnessed bad mishaps? We see someone pulled over on the side of the road with a flat tire and think that; “ surely they’ve called someone else, I’m too busy right now.” What about an angry child lashing out at any who comes near? “Just a rebellious teen,” we think; but what if he is abused constantly and has been kicked out of his home? What of an addict passed out in his car- or is that our thought- and the man actually is hypoglycemic and in desperate need of attention.How many of us cross these situations and have left untouched because our hearts were unaffected? The world would be a changed place if every Christian attended to the sorrows that are plain before them.
Also, what if the Samaritan hadn’t reached out to the injured man? What if he hadn’t helped the man when he couldn’t do it himself? What would become of the man knocked out?
He might have died, but I believe that someone would have come along eventually. Man may fail time and time again but God does not. If it wasn’t the man’s time then, there are those willing to walk and function in God’s love and He would have ordained their paths to cross.
I personally have experienced a situation like this. Years of abuse had me shutting people out of my life, then I began shutting down and turning to suicide attempts. MANY people did pass me by saying things like, “Another pity-seeker” “Her story creeps me out, keep moving.” Others just genuinely had no idea how to approach me as if I was something that would render them a whole lot of awkwardness and a ton of trouble.
Casting Crowns has this song called ‘One Awkward Moment’.
These lines in particular:
“She’s a castaway Stranded on the island of her yesterdays
Freedom was her ocean, but she got swept away
Little princess dreaming got lost somewhere in the waves
She’s been going at this all alone since she was nine
But God loves you, He’s got a plan for you, she’s heard all the lines
But when she opens up her heart nobody’s got the time.”
We who claim to be Christians should seriously consider the lesson in the Good Samaritan particularly looking at the priest and Levite. I personally have gleaned from the illustration that there can lie in the essence of our faith the possibility of having a lack of concern for those wounded around us.
That revelation should grip us, shake us, and convict us if we find this tentacle of discord gripping our hearts in any way. If, in our love for Christ, we are found indifferent towards our brothers’ or sisters’ wounds, then our worship in our churches is merely mockery. It is only when we have found in Him- in Christ- the pity and the healing which we need that we shall go out into the world with love that is as wide as His.