Love Can! Love Can! Love Can!

Posted: February 23, 2015 in 99-Uncategorized

Luke 10:25-37 — Today, we move on to one of the most popular, well-known passages in the Bible, the Good Samaritan passage. The good Samaritan in this passage has become the catch phrase in our language for anyone who does a good deed for another particularly for someone that the person does not know. Even in our increasingly secular culture, the term “good samaritan” is a term that is universally understood. Even if you don’t understand the samaritan part of it, when the terms good and samaritan are used together, everyone knows what that means. It means to good deeds for strangers without expectation of payback. In today’s world, we have so polarized ourselves where we do not associate with those that cannot benefit us or that do not believe in the same way as we do that this story, this parable, is more important than ever.

I think there are three things that this parable teaches us. First, lack of love is easy to justify. In this disconnected, head buried in social media, and not venturing outside our homes much world in which we live. In this mass of people it’s easy to get lost in world in which we live. In this world in which we can go days without speaking to another person if we really tried world in which we live, it is easy not to feel any compassion for the troubles of another person. Virtually everyone is a stranger to us. It is easy not to care. It is easy to disconnect ourselves totally from the world around us. It is easy to say that it is someone else’s problem or that someone else will take care of that. It is easy to develop a heart with no compassion. It is easy to say that what happens in the world has no direct impact on me unless it actually does. It is easy to say that the murder of 21 Christians for being Christian is not my concern. It is easy to say that the lady you hear screaming next door because her husband is beating her is not my concern. It is easy to see a child being bullied and say it is not my concern. It is easy to see a man being beaten up because of his sexual orientation and say he deserved it. It is easy to see a homeless man on the side of the road and roll your windows up on your car to avoid contact. It is tougher to take action because it can get messy. It is tougher to hate or to be indifferent than it is to get our hands dirty in someone’s else life and their situation. Jesus call us to get messy. He calls us to care. He calls us to love others simply for the sake of His name. He calls us to love our neighbors, not just in the neighborhood where we live but everywhere because He loved us first. He loved us because God created us and for nothing that we did to deserve it.

The second thing it teaches us is that our neighbor is not defined by us. Our neighbors are anyone, anywhere, regardless of race, creed, color, social status, sexual orientation, or religious background. Our neighbor is anyone who is in need. Our neighbor can be someone whose lifestyle and beliefs are foreign to me or whose lifestyle and beliefs make my blood boil. My neighbor is a man who riots in Ferguson, MO just because someone said that a police shooting involving a white cop and a black suspect was racially motivated. My neighbor is a Muslim who does not stand up against the violence and bloodshed being perpetrated by ISIS but yet enjoys the freedom of practicing his religion here in the United States. My neighbor is the blatantly homosexual man. My neighbor is the Democrat that supports increasing government intervention in my life so as to ensure the accomplishment of his political agenda. My neighbor is the man who has no beliefs and just lives for the hedonistic pleasures of his life no matter who it hurts. We are called to love everyone. We call to show them compassion. We are called to love the unlovable. We are called to love first and ask questions later. We are called to love and show people the way to the cross. At the cross, they will be given the tools to see what they cannot see now. It is our job to love them and tell them of the cross.

The third thing it teaches us is that love requires action. Love compels us to action. In the Book of James, he tells us that we must be doers of the Word not just speakers of it. He says that we should take action based on our love. To say that you are going to pray for the homeless man as you walk by but do not give him your coat makes our faith worthless. We must be compelled by love. We must be so burdened by our love for others that we leap into action. We can walk by on the other side and is that love? We can stop and look at the victim and walk away but is that love? Only when we pick up the victim and take him to the inn are we really expressing our love. Otherwise, our love is just conceptual. Otherwise our love is just an intellectual exercise. It was once said to me and I am sure the person quoted someone else when he said it but “you cannot share the gospel with a hungry man until you feed him.” We must meet needs not because the meeting of the need ensure a token is place on our scale of good vs bad. We must meet needs because we care compelled by thanksgiving for our own salvation that we are led by the Holy Spirit to love on others. We must be compelled by love to fight injustice. We must be compelled by love to fight for the rights of others who are downtrodden and beaten down by evil. Love should compel us to be the one who gets his hand dirty. Love should compel us to break out of our cocoon of isolation and our perfectly sterile environments to change the world in the name of the love of Jesus Christ. We must be compelled by love to get outside of ourselves. Love compels us to stand against injustice. Love compels us to reach down and help our fellow man up out of the mud. Love compels us to help. Love compels us to get our hands dirty. Love can. Love can. Jesus love us. Jesus loved the sinners as wells as the saints. Jesus even loved his persecutors. Jesus changed the world through love. Love can.

Love can. Love can.

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