The Rev. Janice Ford
The Church of the Reconciliation (Episcopal)
It seems pretty safe to say that most people will stop to give aid at the scene of an accident. Even if an individual has no first aid training, he or she will likely pull over to see if anyone has been injured, and will, at the very least, call 911 for help. It is the honorable, humane, decent thing to do, right?
Why is it then, that when a person sees someone they care about heading for disaster in a relationship, they are willing to avert their eyes and adopt an “it’s none of my business” attitude? Just recently, someone shared with me that a good friend of his had entered into an extra-marital affair. He explained how horrified he was that his friend, who has been married for twenty-three years, was now involved with a woman who was also married. When I asked him what he intended to do now that he knew about the affair, the man replied, “Nothing. It’s my friend’s business, not mine.”
In my head I heard the squeal of the brakes, the crunch of metal, and smelled the gasoline. This man’s friend was in a head-on relationship collision, and this man wasn’t going to stop to call 911, let alone check for a pulse!
Most Christians are familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan, and Jesus makes it pretty clear what his expectations are in terms of rendering aid to someone in need. Caring for one’s neighbor goes beyond tending to a physical emergency, or giving food to the hungry. Jesus also expects us to give good counsel to others when we see them heading for a disaster. Some people consider this “meddling,” but Jesus considers it demonstrating our love for one another.
I am not suggesting we batter people into doing as we suggest. However, helping others to remember what God expects of each of us can be done gently, lovingly, and respectfully. People are always free to accept or reject the message we offer. Our role is simply to offer it. When we do less, we are not living up to our Baptismal covenant, and we are not demonstrating love for the other person. Instead, we are hiding behind a fear that the other will become angry or resentful of our input. It is true, that the other person may get angry or hostile, but Jesus warned us that being his disciple does not come easily or without cost.
May God give us the strength to be the “first responder” others need us to be, and may God provide such a Good Samaritan to us when we are headed for disaster.
- Wednesday, 21 March 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Religion