I am sure you have noted the increasing frustrations, divisions, short-fused behavior, and party spirit that is rampant around the nation. Opinions abound about how we should or should not be handling the ongoing pandemic. Blame and finger pointing can be found in every news article and station. It is easy to get swept away by it all.
As followers of Jesus, we should work in the opposite virtues of charity and love. Christians should respond differently, even despite our own persuasions and opinions. In the familiar passage above, Jesus challenged a lawyer to consider that one’s neighbor included everyone, even those with whom he was at odds. He instructed him to “go and do likewise” in showing mercy toward all, just as in the illustration of the Good Samaritan. And our response is to be the same.
How might we show mercy in these difficult days? At times we need to refocus on Jesus amidst the noise, data, and updates. It begins with a heart check. It means turning of the news, hiding your Facebook app, choosing silence over a response to all that is out there, and spending more time in prayer and Scripture. We must examine our hearts. It is easy for the world, the flesh and the devil to get us anxious, stirred up and at odds with others. We need to repent of hasty words spoken, texted or written. We need to return to Jesus with our time and hearts. We need to return with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength to Him.
Having reoriented our hearts we can then show mercy having received it time and again from Jesus. Showing mercy can come in the form of silence instead of rattling off responses or our own opinions. It may mean doing things we may not even agree with, like wearing a mask, refraining from physical contact, or social distance, not because it is right or wrong, but to show mercy and love toward others regardless of our convictions.
It means showing the world in word and deed whose side we are on. Not that of a party or even a nation, but citizens of another Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. Our leader is not one found on earth, but the one who reigns and rules in heaven. As we show mercy, following Jesus’ example, who in His mercy laid down His very life for us, perhaps we may call others to Him as well.
In salvation history, this season in which we live is a mere ‘twinkling of an eye’, but eternity will endure. May we show mercy, following Jesus, and bring others into the Kingdom. May our witness not be hampered during this season, but attractive. The world needs you, Church. They need to see Jesus. Does our words and actions make Him known? That is the question we should wrestle with each day as we walk through the days ahead.