THE OTHER SIDE
Lk.10: 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
This narrative as served for many decades as a wonderful story of love and compassion. But as in many teachings of Jesus they seem to find their way into sermons but when challenging and difficult circumstances present themselves in this culture the church has run to cover under a self righteous moral shelter. And in so doing they act completely against the heart and soul of this profound teaching from the lips of our Lord.
When we make categories for sinners and treat them in the order that we assess the depth of their sin then we have left the love of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We become like those who crossed over and walked on the other side rather than help the beaten man just because he was not of their lineage and culture. And yet believers by the millions project abject scorn and unkind vitriol toward certain sinners just because they are committing sins that we do not. It is self righteousness at its fallen finest.
But that attitude has nothing to do with Jesus and the kingdom of God. Just where did we turn away from the teachings of Jesus and create a religion which views people from high atop a moral pedestal? And our highest template is breathtaking. Jesus, God Himself existing from eternity past, stepped down from His dwelling place of unimaginable glory and came down to earth. And He did not come just to “rub shoulders” with mankind; He came AS A MAN! And in that face of such wondrous love and sacrifice how dare we snub our noses at gays and liberals and Muslims and any kind of sinner. You see, if Jesus had our attitude He would have never come to save us.
It is our commandment and yes our honor to represent Christ in this world, and going even further into a mystery, He desires to live through us. And how can anyone read the life of Jesus and feel superior and lifted up among those who were once your peers? How can anyone feel moral pride about the grace of God? The purest definition of grace forbids any self righteousness and when we embrace that grace we are set free and empowered to reach and love sinners in a way that is impossible in the natural.
And against the backdrop of the life and teachings of Jesus, and dare I say the Incarnation itself, is a challenge, a commandment, and a Great Commission which by definition includes reaching out, living among, and even breaking bread with lost sinners of every stripe.
I Cor.5: 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person
This is a clear teaching which has been obliterated by modern moralistic politics in America. The Spirit of God, speaking through the Apostle Paul, tells us that if someone calls themselves a believer and is openly engaging in sinful acts without any remorse or repentance should be disfellowshiped, however He states categorically that we should always attempt to build communal bridges with unsaved sinners for the distinct purpose of sharing and exhibiting Christ.
Can you not see the clear and open distinction? And when we castigate lost sinners we work against the Holy Spirit Who is always drawing those same lost sinners to Jesus. How in the world did we get it so confused and so wrong? I’m glad you asked. We got it wrong and left the Spirit the moment we stepped foot into the world of politics, even if we embraced what is commonly called “conservative”. You see, and here is where you must have ears to hear the Spirit, conservatism is an enemy of the gospel just as liberalism is but just coming from a different earthly vantage point.
The everlasting gospel is a message of the Spirit and is not tethered to either conservative or liberal politics or even morality itself. In fact, the gospel is FOR the immoral of whom we all are. “Without holiness no man shall see God”, the Spirit tells us. Are you holy in even the smallest sense by your own energy and labor? Is it ALL of the Spirit of grace that we have been MADE holy? Then where is room for any moral hubris and where are we pointed to verbal assaults and unredemptive attitudes toward any sinner when we ourselves have been grafted in BY FAITH ALONE AND THAT BY GRACE ALONE??
But when we espouse and takes sides with anyone or system of this present world we in essence cross over on the other side and pass by a lost and needy and beaten up world of sinners. This is not some finer point of doctrine. No, this is the essence of the Great Commission and it places us as servants of Jesus and conduits of the gospel rather than worthless windbags spewing the moral issue du jour. How more plain can the Spirit make it? We are to avoid fellowship with professing believers who are in open sin, and yet with lost sinners who may be committing the same or even more grievous sins we are to eat with them for the purpose of evangelism.
So that distinction begs this question: How do we castigate and condemn lost sinners but still love them and break bread with them? The answer is we cannot. We must choose between the fallen and self righteous systems of this present world or the glorious commission and calling inherent within the teachings and the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is some choice! One brings great glory to Jesus through being a humble servant while the other brings earthly glory to politicians and their earthly motives. Humility, my friends, is quite an elusive quality and in fact is rarely sought in these days of competiveness and self affirmation. And if you set your heart to help sinners see and experience Christ through your lips and your lives, and if you walk over to the forbidden side where the lost and beaten exist, you will be judged by much of the evangelical world.
In fact, they just might call you a Samaritan.