Sadly, it seems that we can’t read or hear any news without encountering an account of a major shooting. And the discussion then spins towards finding the cause. One group starts shouting about gun control; another mentions that guns don’t kill, people do. Some will ascribe blame to a particular group of immigrants or maybe blame a group that is against immigration.
Someone else starts a heartfelt recounting of how little we do for those struggling with mental health issues. Someone else will talk about job opportunities or wealth disparity in our neighborhoods. And on it goes.
This week as I thought about some of the latest tragedies, I tried to make the discussion more personal. I asked myself if there was a role for me to play in this societal crisis. And the question out of Luke 10:29 started reverberating in my mind.
An expert in Jewish law tried to trip Jesus up with the succinct question, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus answers by telling the well-known story of the Good Samaritan. There was a man in need. He had been literally (and figuratively) been “kicked to the curb.” Two religious leaders “passed by on the other side” and ignored his obvious needs.
When the Samaritan (from a group of people who hated the Jews) came upon the hurting guy, he stopped, bound up his wounds, took him to an inn and paid for his care. He responded in a practical, meaningful manner. He paid attention to someone who had been ostracized by others. He noticed someone on the “curb.”
And so, should I. And maybe you too.
Those individuals in our own neighborhoods who are marginalized need our attention. It doesn’t really matter what the cause. The need might be financial, physical, psychological, medical or whatever.
We can’t fix all the ills of society, but we can respond to ONE. So, this next week, I am going to contact a group in my area that teaches English as a second language. My goal is to be tutoring someone this fall. Maybe I can help them get a better job. I just want to help.
Check out the proverbial “curbs” in your neighborhood. There are “neighbors” everywhere. Who can you help?