A lethal mix of cultural forces continues in many parts of the United States. It includes racism, rudeness, and lawlessness that are demonstrated in actions and words. In this culture and with the levels of emotion that are present, the demands to do one thing or another, to take one side or another, are serving to increase the divisions among people. With media often acting as a catalyst with misleading headlines and a frequent emphasis on sellable news that draws reaction or support, some important matters are simply not heard or acted upon. It has not helped that some visible leaders have done no better. Worse still, lives, families, and businesses come under incredible pressures as if the Covid virus and the economic downturn were not enough.
What is one to do? More specifically, what does God want a person to do?
The admonitions from the Bible, whether a person is a believer or not, provide insight into the human morass that we are watching or reading about. The Bible is not shy about saying that mankind is a mess. That is why we need Jesus. And, if we do rely on Him and have a fear of God, what are we to do, especially when following Jesus and citing the Word are increasingly unpopular. One thing for sure, words without action is not an alternative. However, action without reference to the Word and the working of the Spirit of God is just as useless.
This is where the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) comes in. Keep in mind, I am not speaking of programs of work and action, or even civil demonstrations. but attitude and response of each person where they live or travel. That is how Jesus put it — in very personal terms. A man is beat up and robbed and left for dead. Two people pass him by and deliberately avoid contact. The third, a person from the wrong side of town (a Samaritan) takes pity, helps the victim in a personal way that costs money and time, and even looks to future expense that might be incurred, saying that he will take care of it.
See a need? Address it and do not presume someone else, or the government, or some other group will address it. You address it. If a wrong is done or inflicted on someone near you, don’t ignore it. Stand up for the person being slighted or be a part of the solution in some way. Exercise hospitality with your home or on the road.
The characters in the scene and Jesus’ other actions tell us pretty clearly that God is impartial. If your eye or your heart is partial to one type of people or another, then you are likely not to see a need, even if it hit you in the face. So a believer is always (or should be) in the process of becoming less partial, whether the division is over ethnic background, age, sex, or even measure of goodness. It is because needs arise in the evil and the just. Rain and drought affect everyone. Rough times, grief, violence, and a host of other things in our fallen world have no respect of persons.
Jesus knew we would face, in the course of our every day walk, opportunities to speak, encourage, take action to assist, and help. So, purpose to do it. While you do it, you have the Word of Life inside to guide and help you if you are following Him. I am not saying these things are easy, because walking in obedience generally costs us in some way. But following Him means we can address dilemmas like the beaten man, like the loose woman from Samaria, like Roman centurion of the occupying Empire, the hated tax collectors, the blind, the lame, the leprous, the stranger, the soldier, the naked, and the list goes on. There is no mention of differences among them as having any affect on how Jesus responded. It seems those things were not the real issue!
And, if you do take action in a situation, let your words and actions be seasoned with life that comes from the Spirit of Jesus. That means the same attitude should be reflected in your Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Twitter, or phone texts. If you complain about the world coming apart and blame one party or the other, you have already missed the point. If your actions involve disobeying basic laws and God’s law, you have missed the point. The needs are around you already. Ask the One you say is Lord about seeing them and then do what He says. It will agree with the principles and ways of the Spirit and the Word.
It is these types of things that God watches in the lives of men and women that call Him Lord. So, let’s encourage one another to do it right.