How We Treat Others

I want to bring to mind one of the best and most beloved stories Jesus ever told: The Good Samaritan. This parable, simply put, is remarkable and memorable. Who among us hasn’t heard it, doesn’t know it or can’t recall it? That’s a good thing for in it Jesus teaches us something important. It is this: It matters to God how we treat others. What matters to God ought to matter to us. Love matters and lives matter! Jesus taught it; we ought to live it. This is a lesson we need to learn.

The story begins by telling us about a man who was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. This is about a twenty-mile trek through a deserted area. The barren region was a rough, rugged, rocky region with high ridges and deep ravines. It was the kind of terrain where thieves and robbers could hide out and attack travelers who would come this way. The man was travelling through this area when he was attacked, robbed and left for dead.

The sad truth is that things haven’t gotten any better in the world since Jesus told this story. There are still those today, like these robbers, who have no qualms over taking unjustly from others. Crime statistics are staggering. 8 out of 10 Americans can expect to be victims of a violent crime in their lifetime. Even worse, so much today is just senseless violence carried out without conscience. This past week our hearts were broken when we learned of the 19 children and 2 teachers who were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. I cannot imagine how devastating this loss must be to the family members who have lost their dear loved ones and are struggling to make sense of it. Their lives have been shattered by this unconscionable act of violence on these small children and their teachers. Our prayers of support must surely be with them in the weeks and months ahead.

I don’t believe there has ever been a time in my lifetime when there’s so much horrific violence in our communities and schools as we see in America today. I don’t mind saying it—Anyone guilty of killing innocent life is evil, worthy of community condemnation, and deserving of the strongest prosecution. Strong measures must be taken in such cases of violence not only to exercise justice but also to protect our communities and to assure that children are safe in our schools.  

Whatever solutions we seek as a community must be willing to go deep enough to deal with the heart of the problem—Character is the ultimate issue. Jesus answered the question as to “Who is my neighbor?” by upholding the character of the Good Samaritan. He is the hero of the story and he is the one who demonstrated qualities which define character.

Jesus said that when the Samaritan saw him he had “compassion” on him. He had an attitude of tender loving care, of mercy and pity. How did he respond? He saw him, then he shared with him. In fact, he shared with a man who would have probably hated him. Remember, the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. On the other hand, if you remember the story (Luke 10:25-37), you recall that this Samaritan shared his eyes, heart, feet, hands, thoughts, wine, oil, bandages, beast, money, time, and ministry. He did this because of what was in him—his inner character. It is the choice to do the right thing—and this by the grace of God. Jesus finished the story by saying to the listeners, “Go and dolikewise.”

Live and learn to treat others kindly. Overcome evil with good. Live truth and show love to everyone. Let everyday serve as an opportunity to demonstrate the character of Jesus in a dark world which desperately needs to see the light. We can denounce violence in our society all we want but I think even better, as has been said, “It is far better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” (Reverend William Watkinson). So true!

Devotedly yours,
Pastor Ron

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