There are a lot of people hurting this week. For many, Presdent-Elect Donald Trump represents the worst of people. He's the embodiment of everything that can go wrong and his campaign rhetoric has incited fear and anxiety for the minorities that have been on the receiving end of his remarks.
And as with all politics, there is a tendency for those who disagree to immediately want to debate and argue. I want to encourage something different - something better. Instead of invalidating the pain or frustrations of your neighbor, meet them in the midst of it. Instead of minimizing their suffering, suffer with them. Instead of ignoring their fears, learn to listen.
Jesus tells a story of a man traveling form Jerusalem to Jericho who fell into the hands of some robbers. Luke writes, "They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). Some robber jumps him as he’s traveling and he’s left in a pool of his own blood, waiting for someone to help.
A priest enters the scene and he walks right by thinking, "He shouldn't have been traveling these roads anyways."
A Levite does the same, leaving the man to die, thinking, "He's not hurt that bad, what's he whining about?"
In the wake of a divisive, hate-filled election, countless people are now bloodied and bruised waiting for somebody to meet them on the side of the road. Instead, though, the pious will concern themselves with their own righteousness instead of their neighbors pain. After all, they did what was best for their neighbor, how can somebody now be hurting? Instead of building bridges in the brokenness, the religious will debate who's correct. Instead of weeping with those who've had scars re-opened, the religious will find a way to make something else the issue.
But then comes a Samaritan.
And this is shocking. It's a plot-twist that Jesus' hearers couldn't have predicted. Samaritans are the bad guys; they can't be the heroes.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.” Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ (Luke 10:33-36)
Jesus is the Good Samaritan.
In the midst of suffering, be assured that you don't simply have a God on a throne who sits and watches. @@The God on the throne gets off his throne and covered in blood.@@ Jesus rescues you from the bloodied mess that you've been left in. He gets covered in your blood, he binds your wounds, and he brings you to the place where you can get healing.
Jesus ignores the mess of getting involved in order to be covered in your blood.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3).
And then Jesus says, "Go and do likewise."
It will not be easy to love like Jesus in the days ahead. The Church is not seen as those who love like Christ.
I don't know who the people in your life are, but I have a feeling that you know somebody who feels like they've been beat up in the past week. I want to encourage you to find those people and jump into the mess.
When you were bloodied and left for dead because of your sin, Jesus didn't avoid you - he got into the mess. It's time to get messy. 1 John 4:19 tells us, "We love because he first loved us."
Jumping into relational tension in the midst of political turmoil will not be easy, you will get covered in blood. But it's an opportunity to love like Jesus has loved us. Find somebody who's hurting and love them. Love them to love them, not to change them. Listen to them without correcting them.
@@Skip all the politics, meet them where they are, and give them Jesus.@@ Give them the God that suffers with them. The God who knows their pain, who sees their pain and goes to the cross because of it.