Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Good Hindu

A teacher of the Law asked the Lord, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

What does the Law say?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and mind, and soul and love your neighbor as yourself.

You have answered correctly.  Do this and you will live.

But, Lord, who is my neighbor?

The Lord replied, "A woman was having many trials in her life.  She had found a lump in her breast and needed surgery.  Fortunately, it turned out to be benign.  However, just four days after surgery and though the woman also had a daughter who was critically ill, her boss, an elder in a local evangelical church, demanded she come to work on her normally scheduled day off because the office was short-staffed.  She was incredulous but dragged her still weakened self to work because she mistakenly regarded her boss as a "friend."  Shortly after this he fired her and refused to give a reason although the office manager commended her work ethic and skills.

Some time later the woman became frighteningly ill and this time it really was cancer.  She had recently left her congregation though her son and husband stayed there.  She and her family had been involved in that church in many ways for nearly 20 years.  When the pastor learned from the woman's husband that she was ill he told the man he was sorry to hear it.  He never called the woman, never sent a note, never asked the husband to express his concern for the woman he had known.  Later, when the woman visited the church for an event her son was involved in the pastor made demeaning comments from the pulpit about "those people over at the ashram."

Meanwhile, the woman had met a female monk from the ashram.  They exchanged pleasantries only twice.  When the monk learned of the woman's illness she asked if she could have the woman's email address and phone number to keep in touch before and after surgery and treatment.  True to her word, the monk checked in on the woman several times asking how she was doing, if there was anything needed, letting her know she was offering prayers for the woman's well-being.  When the woman said she was feeling sad about the need for being quarantined from human touch during treatment the monk checked on her more often during that period of time to provide encouragement in the loneliness.  When the quarantine was over the monk gave the woman a big, loving hug and rejoiced with the woman over the good report from the doctor."

Which of these do you think was a neighbor to the woman facing trials?

The one who showed loved to the woman.

The Lord said, "Go and do likewise."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I give thanks for the folks who demonstrated love to me in my time of need, whether I share their theology or not.  I am honored by their friendship and blessed by their kindness.  I can only hope to reciprocate adequately when the opportunities arise.  I will not remain in the presence of those who would demean them.

14 comments:

Craig said...

Not much more to be said, is there? Jesus has this way of challenging us in our certainties, doesn't he? If our Christianity falls short of basic human kindness, something is wrong. . .

It's.a.crazy.world said...

Reading this has helped me today....I lost my job on Friday, and realize now what a blessing it is that I can now move on and find meaningful work that gives me purpose.
**I recall when my Mom fell in her church parking lot, and the minister - who witnessed it - didn't even call her the next day to see how she was doing. I suppose he isn't really interested in his "flock". She no longer attends, because she doesn't have the mobility to do so, but I think she would still try if he had shown any interest.

Stephen Hayes said...

An extremely powerful message.

Hilary said...

I agree that it doesn't matter what your religious beliefs are.. or are not. Being a decent, caring human being says so much more than that.

Suldog said...

Amen. So many of us - and I don't exclude myself from this - can be self-righteous and think we're doing God's work, when in fact we're missing an opportunity to live our faith. Always worthwhile to be reminded of that. Thanks!

Tabor said...

Treating others as we want to be treated fits in every religion and no religion. It is truly the way.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Craig pretty much said it.
A true Christian doesn't qualify those for whom they show compassion.

Logophile said...

So glad you are away from the toxic and finding those who love.

Pharisees, no matter the era, just never seem to understand the vastness and importance of they fail to grasp. Tinkling symbols and sounding brass, man.


Anvilcloud said...

Churches are cliquey. You need to be in one the cliques to be truly loved.

Jocelyn said...

There's a reason why I stopped going to church when I was 14 and have never missed it since. There's also a reason I walk out of the yoga studio each week, smiling. My spirit knows where it's fed.

Secret Agent Woman said...

I am far less interested in the theology/non-theology someone professes than how they live their lives. Love and compassion are what matter.

Kat said...

It was the hypocrites that angered Jesus the most. Calling yourself a Christian is not enough. Christianity is a verb. Just like love. You show your love, your Christianity, through your actions. We all fall short at times because we are human, but there are some that should just not call themselves Christian at all.

And I agree with Secret Agent. I feel the same way.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Wow. Just, wow.

koi seo said...

are not. Being a decent, caring human being says so much more than that.


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