We as a people have endured a great deal of suffering, we are sorrowing and confused by what is happening in our nation and in our world. Despite every evil, we must never cease following the Way that Christ taught.
as told by Deborah
A religious scholar wanted to see what Jesus believed; “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said, “What is written in the Scriptures? What do you find there?” He answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said, “You’ve answered your own question; do this, and you will live.”
Wanting reassurance, he asked further, “But who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by a gang who stole everything he had, beat him, and left him to die.
“Shortly afterward a priest was traveling along that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
“The same thing happened a little later when someone else hurried past the man on the side of the road.
“But when a Samaritan who was traveling along that road saw him, he was filled with compassion. He went over to the man and cleaned and bandaged his wounds. Then he brought him to an inn, and took care of him there. The next day he paid the innkeeper for two more days’ stay, and said, ‘Look after of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever extra you spend.’
“Which of these three was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by the robbers?”
He said, “The one who was kind to him.”
Jesus nodded, “Go and do the same.”
This parable — of the wounded, dying man and those who ignored him, those who harmed him, and the one who rescued him — is not an ancient story, but a lived reality; our lived reality.
I’ve written before about “compassion fatigue”: the emotional exhaustion that comes with repeated sorrows and troubles. Over and over again we have been confronted with tragedies: acts of hatred and violence on an almost inconceivable scale. It saps our energies and begins to erode our ability to feel. We become numb, stunned, shell-shocked by it all.
The temptation is to close our eyes and shut our ears and just “get away” from the current state of affairs. We fantasize about moving to Canada or South America or (my personal favorite) the south of France — away from our wounded and bleeding nation; away from the grief, away from the anger, away from the confusion. We avoid the news, ignore political commentary, and stay away from those “other people” who frighten, disturb, or disagree with us.
It seems the safest route to take.
We may not be working to build a better world, but at least we aren’t contributing to its decline. We’re simply observing the first rule of ethics: “Do no harm.”
Except that, just like those travelers who walked past the injured person, we do harm by our neglect. By failing to render aid in time of need, by failing to do what we can to help, we are causing greater damage to occur. It was only due to the intervention of that single traveling Samaritan that the man survived; otherwise he most certainly would have died.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.”
~ Elie Wiesel
Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,
Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. ~ Micah 6:8