Loving our neighbor even when they disagree
There once was a man who decided to take a road trip from Wisconsin to California. As he was driving, he began to smell burning rubber. He thought it was odd but kept driving. A few miles down the road his check engine light came on. He knew it was his car that smelled like burning rubber and he needed to pull over. He saw a sign for an exit that led to a small town. This town had no gas station, so he pulled over in front of some houses. He checked his phone and realized he had no service in this town. He saw a house with a Jesus is King sign in the yard. The man was out watering his garden, therefore he decided to walk towards him. The man saw him coming so he dropped the hose and ran into the house. The man started yelling for the guy to wait! He just needed to use his phone to call a tow truck. The guy didn’t stop. He thought about knocking on the door but saw another man walking down the street. As the stranded traveler approached the man walking down the street, the man quickly crossed the street. He yelled, “I just need to ask you a question!” The man yelled back, “I am a pastor at a church, and I have been talking to people all day. I just want to go home.”
Defeated the man started to walk back to his car. He opened the hood and saw that his serpentine belt was almost gone. The tourist began to weep because he didn’t know what to do. He was helpless. All of a sudden, a car pulls up and rolls down his window and asks what’s wrong. The traveler explains the problem to the driver who says, “let me turn around and give you a ride to a bigger town 15 minutes down the road.” As he is turning around the traveler notices the ANTIFA and Bernie Sanders bumper stickers on the car. He gets into the car not sure what to expect. As they are driving the man says this town has a hotel and an auto parts store. I will pay for your
hotel tonight since the parts store is closed. First thing in the morning I will go to the parts store and buy the parts before I pick you up. Then we can go fix your car. As the tourist was walking to his hotel room the man says, “make sure to take advantage of room service since I am paying for the room.”
What does this story mean?
Which of these three people do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who was stranded? It is the one who showed mercy. Therefore, we should follow his example. I have been meditating on the parable of the good Samaritan and thinking how it would sound in a modern day context (Luke 10:25-37). As Christians who do we think would be the most unlikely source of help? In our current climate we may think it someone on the progressive left. I hope the story left you a little irritated! That is how the religious leaders would have felt when they listened to Jesus tell them a story where the Samaritan was the person they are supposed to emulate.
John Piper helped me understand this parable. He says, “Jesus tells a story that changes the question from what kind of person is my neighbor to what kind of person am I? He changes the question from what status of people are worthy of my love to how can I become the kind of person whose compassion disregards status?”
This parable is supposed to cause self-reflection. It holds up a mirror to our life and forces us to confront areas where we are not loving our neighbor. This can be applied to many different areas of our life but since it is election season, we should focus on those who disagree with us politically. This can be very hard because many of our core values are vastly different.
- Remember that all people are created in the image of God! This includes those with political differences. You can put any group of people you disagree with in that sentence. We shouldn’t treat those with different views as less than human.
- Have compassion on those different than you. The religious leader says, the one who showed mercy is the one who is the real neighbor. Jesus tells him to go and do likewise. Mercy and compassion go hand and hand. Compassion “disregards the status of the person we are showing compassion to. What are some hands-on ways you can love those different than you?
- Watch your words when it comes to talking about political differences.
a. Watch what you say behind closed doors. People are listening. Your kids are listening! Be kind and gracious when talking about people who have different beliefs. Even if those beliefs go against the Bible. Being kind and gracious is not mutually exclusive from speaking truth.
b. Watch what you say online! It is really easy to speak sinfully when we are in front of a computer screen. It is discouraging reading the comments on news articles. We also need to watch what news articles we are sharing. Sharing misinformation is also a sin. This means we should fact check before posting.
- Pray for those who are different from you. Prayer is an incredible privilege that we have as Christians. Are we praying?
- Share Jesus with those who are different than you. All people need to hear about Jesus. Sharing means that we have to get involved people’s lives. This can be really hard when people are different from us, but it is possible.