Tuesday, March 18, 2008

# 240: The Children of Selfless Love

This post will be an expanded version of Luke 10:30-35, "The Good Samaritan," which I will now quote: "In reply Jesus said, ‘A man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away. A priest [supposedly a holy man] happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, [also, supposedly a holy man], when he came to the place and saw him, passed on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine [the medicine of the day]. Then he put him on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins 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.’"

Samaritans are despised by most Jews, and vice-versa; therefore, Jews do not associate with Samaritans. John 4:9. This despised Samaritan has set a perfect example of what it means to have selfless love (loving your neighbor as yourself).

How many genuine Christians would have done the same thing if they came upon a helpless and suffering man? I do know that most, if not all, would have done the same. But what about people who only use the name Christian, possibly go to church and claim to be religious? They all have important places to go and things to do. Would they disrupt their busy schedule, along with spending time and money, when they might think to themselves, "I am sure someone else will see what happened and care for him; we just don’t have the time"?

Most likely, the most precious virtue a person can possess is selfless love for others in need. That type of love is not cheap or easy, and does not express itself frequently. Let us see how Scripture describes it. Philippians 2:3-5. "Do nothing out of vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Romans 12:10. "Honor one another above yourselves." 1st Corinthians 10:24. "Nobody should seek their own good but the good of others." Also see 1st Corinthians 13:5. "Love . . . is not self-seeking." The goal of Godly love is equality for all. Could selfless love be depicted any clearer? That love is supposed to be the exclusive way Christians live. What happened? For us to live that way would mean that a dramatic exchange must take place: taking the burdens and poverty of the needy and exchanging them for true riches, then giving them whatever love gifts they need.

It is a crying shame that the vast majority of people who call themselves Christians do not have that sort of unique, holy and selfless love. But at the same time, there are some people who have this precious love, but either don’t believe there is a God (atheist); believe the human mind can not know whether there is a God or go beyond the material phenomena (agnostic); or, as people of other religions do, openly acknowledge God but do not worship Him; and then, the nonreligious who believe there must be a God, but go no further. The last of those four groups, most likely, is the largest. Of course, let us not forget that there are a few genuine Christians whose lives are dominated by selfless love, which is inspired by God.

Let us attempt to examine the motives behind some of these people who have this selfless love which is considered to be exclusive only to devoted Godly people. What gives them the desire and power to live in this selfless manner?

I am certain that they believe “What goes around, comes around.” Scripture confirms this truth: Galatians 6:7. "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." But can that simple but powerful belief produce selfless love? There must also be some other motive/s. The joy of sharing the joy of others could be one. They may have acquired a humility [though I don’t know how] to consider others better than themselves. If they were real Christians, I would say it came from God. But God is no part of their lives. And yet, since we all were created in the image of God, it may be a deep yearning to fulfill a deep but dormant Godly desire.

This is what bothers me: I am jealous, and most likely, God is also; repeating, this is the way people who call themselves Christians ought to live, since that is what is commanded in the New Testament. And yet, the vast majority of Sunday-morning Christians are content to do literally nothing but go to church, if even that, as the most important part of their Christianity. Their main concern is greed of all sorts, dressed up with a halo. But the real evil in their lives is that their religion is wrapped up in themselves, making it a selfish religion. They are concerned with their own Salvation more than all else. If they were truly living as Jesus Christ commanded, their first priority would be to do good works of love to all others, regardless of the cost or effort.

I am not sure if these non-Christians believe in any type of afterlife. Even though they don’t believe in Christ as their Savior, it seems they deserve it. In my lifetime, I have met several selfless people. I would love to visit with them now, and pick their brains as to several questions I now have about their motives and future. I think some of them believe they are spirit beings encased in a physical body. That seems to imply that since spirits are not prone to death at physical death, possibly their spirits may live on after their death.

My question is this: Why don’t these people become Christians, and at death be assured of eternal life with God? Most likely, the reason they don’t is because they see the hypocrisy in many who profess Christianity but don’t live as Christ requires. All they see is greedy people who live worldly lives while still calling themselves Christians. Who is there to call them on their error, other than this blog? I know the majority of the clergy won’t, for at least two reasons: first, many churches don’t care to know the private lives of their members. If they did, they would keep their mouths shut so as not to lose any income.

That goes to show the damage hypocrisy has done and is still doing to the very people who could raise Christianity to the highest level by knowing that religions that have even a bit of worth must center their efforts on the good of others.

Are these Sunday-morning Christians who regularly put their dues in the collection basket aware of the fact that the main way to show God they love Him is by loving and putting others before themselves? Without an active love for the less-fortunate, Christianity is a farce, regardless of how many holy pretenses they display.

Here is the reasoning behind paying their weekly tax of 10%: This is what they think: They believe that weekly payment relieves them of their duty of having to cater to the needs of their neighbor (the Good Samaritan). They say to themselves, "It is the clergy’s responsibility; that is why I am paying them. Let them help the needy; again, I am free of my responsibility. Thank you Lord; I feel better now."

The closest thing on earth to selfless Godly love is the love most parents have for their young children. Is there anything they wouldn’t do to help their children? In most cases, no, there isn't. What will they get out of it? Their children are their responsibility, but beyond that is their loving attachment to them.

There is a clue for the motive for the children of selfless love. They live this way because they must truly believe they have an attachment to all who are in need, and therefore are responsible for their welfare. However or wherever they got that motivation, that is what the modern Christian church desperately needs. But don’t hold your breath; it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks.

You see, these fake Christians are taught by much of organized religion that they are saved and going to heaven; thus, it is not absolutely necessary to do these works of love, and these works of love are only to gain a better position in heaven. That is the lie that will send many to the fires of hell. I discussed this topic in depth in the previous post. For new bloggers, read a few of the posts in this blog for the reason I make this egregious charge.

My question is this: Does our Jehovah God have any part in their goodness? Is He the one who is secretly inspiring their selfless love, just to show-up the religious hypocrisy of those who take on His name but live like hell? That is a tough question, because as Christians we are taught that only through faith in Christ are we granted eternal life. Here is a verse in Romans which may teach otherwise. Romans 2:14. "(Indeed, when Gentiles [non-Christians], who do not have the law [Christ’s commands], do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show the requirements of the law are written on their hearts . . . )." Will the Good Samaritan be granted eternity since he is the role model of how real Christians must love the helpless? The mind-boggling questions this paragraph presents will go down in eternity unanswered.

The bottom line, after all is said about any religion, is this: Above and beyond all which is necessary for any religion to be effective, if an active selfless love is not the end-product of that religion, be it Christian or otherwise, with or without God, it/they have missed the gold standard of what genuine religion was meant to accomplish. This is a tough precept for many to digest.


Anonymous said...

I see what you're saying, and I have been similarly frustrated with 'the Church' and also for not evangelizing more. But I am personally coming around to see that we should not discount our everyday encounters, for many of them also contain selfless love. We cannot all be a Good Samaritan, or Mother Teresa all the time, but we are granted moments when we impact lives with acts of love.
For instance, as a parent, there are many instances where we put our children's welfare above our own, and also in any good marriage there is a great deal of selfless love. A good employee will be humble and obedient to his or her boss, etc. Additionally, hospital visits, funeral attendances, etc. are small acts of love that can make a big difference to someone. Even giving someone a lift, or loaning a few bucks can be an answer to prayer.
The main thing it seems to me is the condition of one's heart. God can see our heart. Even seemingly selfless people may have selfish motives. If we take on a servant attitude with a humble heart, our live in affluent America can still be that of a Good Samaritan.
Yes, many of those in the pews need to be activated to reach out more and to do more, but by working within our families, communites, etc, we can begin to change future generations and make bigger impacts. Being honest with ourselves, loving others is the hardest thing God ever asks us to do.

JC said...

Dear Jen, thanks much for your extremely honest comments. I whole-heartily agree with most of your comments. Concerning our everyday encounters, we must make sure we are not doing exactly what the people of the world regularly do. When we do engage in these meetings, we must let whoever know why we are doing what we are doing and not by our presence, temporarily become worldly. That is a tough call.

I agree we cannot all be good Samaritans all the time, but we should not make that as a excuse so as to shirk from our holy duties, which will put us on a slippery road to disobedience. Just remember this: we all like to paint ourselves pretty, (justifying our weaknesses/failings). Once those we engage with daily (non-Christians), know our destiny and purpose, then our casual encounters may have spiritual meaning.

Concerning loaning money to those in need, unless we actually depleted our own finances to a point where we must have that money back, it is best that instead of a loan to make it a gift.

Yes, God knows our heart, the question remains: do we know the condition of our own heart, when comparing it to all that is commanded in the New Testament? The vast majority, possibly including myself, will unknowingly be lying to ourselves. That is part of our human nature, which says, “I am better than you.” Yes, we may have hidden selfish motives, these we must expose, and pray God will help us overcome. But the main thing is for us to be aware of them when they show their ugly face.

As to your last comment, I have been attempting to reach-out to church people for many years with zero results. They are the most difficult, if not impossible, to reach, since they believe they are already saved and do not need any more Godliness than they already possess.

As I read your comments, it is evident you have a good heart; but let us not settle for anything that is good as an excuse not to excel further, since God says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:58.

As to changing future generations, the outlook is gloomy, when we look at what young people are engaging in, I mean even those who claim Christ as their Savior. That statement does not sound optimistic, but I hate to say, is truthful. I live in a college town, and see what is happening first hand, even with grade-school kids. May God continue to bless you. jc.