One of the things I like most about my pastor is that he not only makes those stories you've heard hundreds of times at church seem new, but that he pushes past the superficial snugglies that many of us settle for when reading and interpreting Biblical teachings. Today's message was centered around the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37. 25) which, for me right now, is crazy pertinent. At the end of the sermon, the question was posed "Which character are you?" I'm honestly likely all of them at any given time in different areas of my life.
It's definitely one of those passages that's worth revisiting and reevaluating frequently in a person's life, but today, the definition of caring really jumped out at me. This is a combination of some of the points listed...
What caring is not...
- Doing what you want, how you want, when you want it. In other words, someone caring about you doesn't always mean it's on your terms nor will it always make you feel comfortable.
- It doesn't mean we can solve all of everyone's problems. As in the case of the Samaritan, short or long, sometimes we can only walk part of the way.
- Feeling bad. Pity is feeling bad. Compassion is being motivated to act.
- Enabling. That's a hard one, because sometimes, especially if you've been enabling someone in the past, the reaction to stop doing so can be ugly.
- It's not a one way street. He told a story of a member who stopped attending church for six weeks just to see if anyone would contact her. No one did...and in those six weeks she was busy not contacting anyone either. (This one REALLY stuck with me because relationship testers are a sore spot of mine.)
- What affects you, affects me, both good and bad.
- It's going to cost you. Money, time, effort, emotion, convenience stability. It's really not free.
- The parable didn't happen in church. It happened during the daily routines of church people.
- Caring includes those closest to us...the ones easiest to take for granted.
- Caring includes those you don't know...the ones easiest to ignore.
- Caring includes those that appear to be ok. In a country like the US where we tend to think money fixes all, it's easy to forget that even those with plenty of physical resources can be broken and beaten.