We’ve spent the last few weeks reading about some incredible women who are moving toward some serious messes… Prisoners, Race Relations, and Crisis Pregnancy. But, can I be honest? Far too often I see practicalities instead of possibilities.
My first instinct is rarely to move toward a mess.
In fact, I’m more likely to take a step back or cross the street or perhaps even avert my eyes. I typically attempt to avoid messes, not get tangled up in them.
Why I Don’t Always Move Toward the Mess
Oh, I can come up with some really great reasons why I shouldn’t get mixed up in a mess.
I’m already late.
What if it’s a scam?
I don’t want to expose my kids to that.
What if she thinks I’m meddling or condescending?
My schedule is already bursting at the seams.
What if they ask me a question I can’t answer?
I don’t think it’s really safe to stop here.
What will people think if they see me there or with them or if I say that?
I don’t know enough about this issue so I’ll probably say something dumb.
Can you relate?
There plenty of practical reasons why we shouldn’t get involved in other people’s messes.
But one rebuttal defeats them all.
One statement destroys all my excuses.
Love Your Neighbor As Yourself
Jesus spoke five words that ought to send me running toward messes like a dispatched fire fighter. He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31).” And He said none of the other commandments are as important as loving God and our neighbors.
But too often I act more like the lawyer, the priest, and the Levite. I question who my neighbor really is or pass by on the opposite side of the road certain my plans for the day or my safety or my clean, flowing robes are more important than the bruised and beaten man robbers left for dead in the ditch. I have so much to learn from the good Samaritan. He invested time and treasure in a man who was an enemy to his own people. Yet, his empathy for the man’s plight moved him with compassion toward the mess. I believe the good Samaritan saw just enough of himself in this Hebrew to love him a little. (Luke 10:25-37)
Possibilities Not Practicalities
And that loving act literally saved his neighbor’s life.
The Samaritan man didn’t allow the practical to impede the possible.
Was it messy? Absolutely. Was it scary? Probably. Was it costly? Yup. Could the man have refused his help? Perhaps. Could he have been ostracized for his association with an outsider? Maybe. Was it impractical and inconvenient? Definitely.
But he did it anyway.
He did it because he was moved by compassion and motivated by love. And as Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, love is everything. Nothing else we do matters if we fail to love. We gain nothing unless we give love. Unless love motivates our every action, we’re just wasting our time here on earth.
So, here’s how I’m challenging myself right now. I want to stop allowing the practical to impede the possible and start letting love guide my thoughts and actions. I want to do what I can so that God can do what He does. When we all love the way Jesus commanded, I believe we will witness God accomplish the seemingly impossible.
Ask This Question
I’m asking this question: If I really loved my neighbor what would I do?
I’d love to know how you’d respond. Who in your community or around the world most needs you to love them right now? Where can you let love lead you toward possibilities instead of practicalities? Let’s brainstorm some ways we can take God’s love into the midst of those messes. Who knows, your idea may spark a fire in someone else here!
Move Toward the Mess Posts:
Prison Ministry with Carmen Horne
Racial Reconciliation with Kathie Harris
Pregnancy Resources Center with Martha Merritt
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday.