A lawyer and a rabbi are arguing about what it means to be kind.
It is an ancient argument.
The lawyer thinks a “kind” person is always polite and considerate.
The rabbi thinks “politeness” is superficial, and “considerate” simply means to consider the consequences before taking any action, but that true kindness comes at a price. The rabbi believes that true kindness will take insult, inconvenience or injury upon itself in order to save another person from the same.
We read of this encounter between the lawyer and the rabbi in the Biblical book of Luke. You may remember the story of a traveler who is robbed, stripped of his clothing, beaten, and left half dead alongside the road.
Jesus, the young rabbi, tells the lawyer that two religious people passed by the wounded traveler, but both of them avoided the man. Then, the member of an ethic minority came upon the injured traveler. The most common name for this ethnic minority was a racial slur in the day of Jesus, so to help make his point, Jesus used the racial slur as the name of the man: “a Samaritan.”
According to Jesus, “the Samaritan,” at his own expense, took the injured traveler to an inn, treated his wounds, and paid the innkeeper to take care of him.
Jesus then asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The lawyer, too polite to say “Samaritan,” said, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
Rabbi Jesus was clearly demonstrating that kindness costs the giver, and that it is our actions that define us, not our origins.
Disagreements occur when there is a lack of definition of terms. When there is no agreed-upon definition of a word, arguments will revolve around it.
I believe the word that has the largest number of conflicting definitions today is the word “Christian.”
If we were to poll our nation, we would doubtless discover countless definitions for “Christian,” but I believe most of them would fall somewhere in the middle of a three-cornered continuum.
At one extreme of that triangle, a Christian is a believer in Christianity, a religion founded by Jesus, who came to give us a new moral code and teach us a better way to live. This Christian is patriotic and rejects behaviors that he or she believes to be immoral.
At the second extreme of that triangle, a Christian is a believer in Jesus as God Incarnate, who came to earth to purchase eternal life for all who would believe. This Christian does not believe that Jesus came to deliver a new moral code, but to die so that we might live.
The third extreme of our triangle is a definition occasionally embraced by people who do not identify themselves as “Christian,” because they define a Christian as:
- a religious person who believes poor people deserve to be poor because “anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps through good decisions and hard work.”
- a religious person who is in favor of guns, but against gays.
- a religious person who believes Americans are exceptional, and that all other nations are inferior.
It is not my purpose today to start an argument, but to defuse one.
Christianity and politics are in turmoil today due to the lack of an agreed-upon definition of the word, “Christian.” I have no intention of offering my own definition of Christian, since it is unimportant to anyone but me. And I do not expect your definition of “Christian” to be any of the three extremes I named. I expect you have a complex, nuanced definition that you feel strongly about. You may even be anxious to share it in the hopes of “clearing the air.”
Please don’t. 🙂
My only goal today is to ask you to consider – for just a moment –
that a good person might hold views and opinions dramatically different from your own without becoming “the enemy.”
This person could even become your trusted friend.
Even if they are “a Samaritan.”
Roy H. Williams
This is not a new subject for the wizard. He began teaching in 2004 – back when George W. Bush was president – that “3,000 years of world history indicate that 2013 through 2023 will be a time of extreme internal strife in America.” Six years ago he even wrote a book about it with Michael Drew as his co-author. In the rabbit hole, I’ll give you some interesting quotes from that book, Pendulum, along with the page numbers on which they can be found.
Greg Jameson gets popular entertainers, athletes, authors, bloggers and YouTubers to say nice things about your business. His job is to identify the influential men and women who can provide the greatest endorsement leverage, then negotiate with those influencers to give you what you want. As Greg explains to roving reporter Rotbart, an effective influencer doesn’t have to be a household name. Anyone with a loyal following, no matter how small, can produce big results for the companies and products they endorse. Listen and learn at MondayMorningRadio.com. (PS – for the record, the wizard and the MMMemo are not available for this sort of thing at any price. Roving reporter Rotbart does not have a financial relationship with the wizard, nor does Wizard Academy. The wizard and the MondayMorningMemo have always rejected money for endorsements and always will. The wizard and I publish people only if we like what they have to say. Aroo, Indy)