Who is your neighbor?

>> Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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?”
Luke 10:25-29 (NIV)

As a Christian, I am often confused by what I see happen around the world. I don't always understand how my all powerful God can "allow" bad things to happen to people. It is somewhat of a question that has been posed at our morning "coffee shop worship", how can God allow so much bad in the world? My preacher, Gordon, had a great way of explaining it, but my brain can't seem to find those words - he's much more eloquent than me. But the basis of what I got out of what he was trying to explain is that the "bad" things that happen help us to grow in our grace. I spend way too much time reading the news on the internet and have been left in tears and disgusted at society, just completely unable to comprehend what some people do, so it's still been extremely difficult to accept or understand.

On Monday I was reading an article on cnn.com about a toddler in China and was reminded about the story of the good Samaritan. The little girl was hit by two cars and had over a dozen people walk right by her without stopping to help, all of which was caught on camera. The person that came to this little girls rescue wasn't a special person, a doctor, policeman, or anyone that mattered to society. It was someone that was clearly referred to as a "scavenger" in the article. If you're like me, a not so pretty image instantly come to mind - a dirty lady, in torn clothing collecting discarded trash. Someone who you either ignore as you walk by her or look at and scowl, thinking she's responsible for her current place in society. Yes, this was the lady that saw the child on the ground bleeding and in pain that stopped to help, like the Samaritan in the bible who saw the man in the valley beaten and robbed and stopped to help as others walked by. She has become a reluctant hero to the people of China - and hopefully an example to follow.
This tragedy seems to have started a dialog within China about the deterioration of morality in their society, being a major trending conversation on their version of Twitter. China, the Communist nation, is having a morality check and this is wonderful. This discussion needs to spread as this lack of morality is not isolated to China. How often do we sit back and do nothing because it isn't affecting us directly? We might not pass by a dying child, but how often have you sat with your lips closed as a friend abused a loved one or themselves with drugs? How many people have we watched self destruct because we didn't want to be meddlesome? Not only am I reminded of the story of the good Samaritan, but I go back to my coffee shop Sunday. You know the one at the beginning of this post, the one that had me doubting God's plan and it suddenly makes sense. How? Because the people of China are talking and hopefully looking into their hearts, to grow as better people. And, maybe this will spread here and people will look into the mirror and take a look at their souls and see the similarity between themselves and all the people that passed the little girl by.
This is it.
This is God is using bad things for a greater good. Too often we get mad when things like this happen. We get mad at God for allowing it to happen. We blame it on Satan. We don't see how we are the same as the passerbys.
So, I guess there are two lessons here:
- Be the good Samaritan. make a difference in someone's life.
- God knows why things happen and He has a purpose. Instead of questioning His intentions, we need to look at how these kinds of situations can work out positive in our lives, helping us to grow into better people.

Who is your neighbor?


Jen October 20, 2011 at 12:21 AM  

Yes! I so agree with both your conclusions. When all the fires were raging here in Texas, I had a really difficult time with God -- trying to understand why He would do this. And then, after a very frank discussion with Him (I had to do a lot of listening), He showed me how our community would change for the better. Amazing, God, You are!

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