Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Scripture for April 15th: Luke 10:25-37
Sermon Title: Bless, Not Hurt
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
“I have no friends.” A man once told me this, claiming he had no real relationships outside of his pet dog. But in truth he had a relationship with his barber, store sales clerk and mail person, though as limited as these relationships were. And he had relationships with those in his church and me, his pastor. You see, he had relationships with others because everyone has relationships.
Dr. Gary Smalley makes this same point in this book, “The DNA of Relationships,” when he writes the following: “Relationships are not an option. From the moment you’re born, you’re in relationship with parents. Soon you’re in relationship with other children. Later you have relationships in the workplace, and you develop relationships with close friends. And eventually most people develop a relationship with someone they deeply love. When a relationship becomes difficult or painful, we tend to dismiss the relationship and may for a while try to abandon all relationships. But eventually we come back and seek connection once again. While we can choose how we will participate in relationships, we have no choice about whether we will participate in them. This is a critical point. Your only real choice is whether you will work to make your relationships healthy, whether you will do things that hinder or enhance them.”
No matter who you are, you are in relationship with others. Are those relationships healthy? Christ showed us the basis for healthy relationships in the parable above: first, and foremost, our relationships must be based on our personal relationship with God. Secondly, we must understand that we were created with the capacity to choose to be in right relationship with others. And thirdly, we must be willing to take responsibility for our own actions. We will talk more about each of these points as we begin the sermon series, “The DNA of Relationships” this coming Sunday. Hope to see you then!