Tuesday, August 30, 2011

#2 - DIDN'T and COULDN'T

Robbed, Beaten and Dying – A story-lesson Jesus told.

Previously we saw two ships surrounded by death. Neither was just a story – but literal history. In each case cries for help were heard by others, but no help was given. Help for the Titanic passengers was just too far away to get there in time. And then the people outside the Ark that Noah's family was in, had previously chosen to not trust in God's warnings that judgment for man's sin was coming.

Now we'll bring this 'help-cries' lesson closer to home with a very well known Bible story Jesus used to teach several principles most everyone can understand and should apply, as Christians.

In the 'help-cries' lesson in Luke 10, Jesus teaches how often our prejudices prevent us from giving lifesaving aid to those we 'rub elbows' with. The lesson is well known to us as The Good Samaritan and answers the question, “Who is my neighbor?” That question was posed to Jesus, trying to trick Him, in explaining the 'royal law' of love stated in Deut. 6:9 and Lev. 19:18.

Our dictionary defines PREJUDICE as “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” Take a few moments and look at each keyword in the definition just stated. In a very real sense, those keywords all become a recipe for disaster. My mind keeps coming back to the bottom line of so many of the Bible references to brotherly love, “and love thy brother as thyself.” To me that means to look at that other person as though I see them with my face in place of theirs.

In the Good Samaritan story-lesson, I just can't see the preacher (priest) passing by on the other side, if he'd viewed the dying victim as easily as being him. Nor when the Levite acted with the same indifference as the priest just did. Now we must be careful as we consider the character and actions of the Samaritan who did help the victim... and continued to help him in several ways. The word describing his attitude is very important here, because it gives the motive for the help given.

He had COMPASSION, which means, “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”

So you and I have a spiritual thermometer with the marking “Prejudice” at the low end and “Compassion” at the high end. Your temperature of love (another as thyself) is measured for all of heaven to see. And also that our actions reveal.