Let’s be honest. What would you do?
A 36 year old Hispanic woman walks into your office without an appointment. She has no money, no job, and speaks only Spanish. Some questions reveal she is an illegal Mexican with four children from three different men. She is afraid of the current man she is living with and has custody questions.
Honestly, that sounds messy. This will probably take time and she wasn’t scheduled. You’re not an expert in family law and she would probably be better served by someone who knows more. Maybe you’re not a lawyer and this sounds awfully legal – she needs to go see somebody else. Secretly you might question whether she really deserves your help. After all she came to this country illegally. Why should we help her? She chose to be with four different men and now wonders why she is having problems? I don’t think I have the time. I don’t think I should give the time.
Jesus faced a similar dilemma with a Samaritan woman in the fourth chapter of the gospel of John. The Pharisees taught good Jews not to spend time with Samaritans. The Pharisees would have condemned her living with different men. But Jesus never missed an opportunity to show compassion and mercy to all in need. Where the Pharisees believed justice was judgment, Jesus showed justice was about restoring what was broken and that mercy triumphed over judgment.
Let’s be honest. Often we who claim to be Christ followers, follow the way of the Pharisees more often than Jesus. We place labels on people to justify our failure to love our neighbor in need. Jesus asks us to stop, allow ourselves to be inconvenienced, and show compassion and mercy. That was the point of the parable of the Good Samaritan who dared to stop and help the victim of injustice no matter what others thought. Doing so was tied directly to the gospel, to the question posed by the lawyer of what must he do to inherit eternal life (Lk. 10:25). We must love our neighbor. And our neighbor includes those we might not choose to love, because God loves them. All those who claim to have received the grace and forgiveness of Christ, must show that grace and forgiveness toward others. All fall short. Do we dare to measure the gap in our failure compared to others?
The office the woman walked into last week was the office of one of our gospel justice centers. The woman she spoke to saw her need and stopped. The woman was so afraid she was going to leave her children. She was without hope. She firmly believed no one would want to help a poor, Spanish-speaking, illegal Mexican woman. But the woman she spoke to let her know of a God who wanted to help her. How Jesus loved her and had a different plan for her life. Our Mexican friend found Jesus that day. She accepted Christ as her Savior and entered a Kingdom that has no racial, economic, language or other barriers. Christ destroyed all those barriers so that every tribe and every nation could be present with Him in His Kingdom. The gospel justice center also provided practical legal information to protect her and give her guidance and direction. As a result she did not abandon her family that day. Instead she joined a larger family and has connected with this family through a local church.
Let’s be honest. Isn’t that what Jesus would want us to do. Let’s follow His example. Let’s go and do likewise.