Sunday November 17, 2019 | David Morrow
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 sould 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 fell into the hands of 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.'
"When of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
The expert of the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
God created us to live in love for others, however, we fall short of this reality. In this sermon, David explores three barriers to loving others: religion, political affiliations and hurry. Addressing these three barriers will not only change your experience of love with others, but also it will change how you love God.
This sermon focuses on loving others, a crucial part of 4D love. David Marrow begins by asking why loving others matters to God. He argues that how we treat other people, who are made in the image of God, is how we treat God. Our love for God is expressed in our love for others. Therefore, our relationships with other people are crucial to our life with God.
How we relate to others is influenced by how we were loved in the early period of life, which has been explored through Attachment theory in this series. Anxious attachment results in an overly-high view of others, and an unreasonably low view of self. Those who lean toward avoidant attachment have an overly positive view of self and a negative view of others.
To explore this further, David identifies three barriers to loving others well. This is explored through the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story that Jesus told to confront common relationship barriers of his day. There are three basic barriers:
Barrier #1: Religion
Religious systems focus on rules and causes us to miss people. The rules create boxes for ourselves and for others, and therefore we are unable to know others. We develop assumptions about others instead of knowing who they are as people. We do this, in part, because we believe that our job is to follow the rules instead of engaging people.
Barrier #2: Political Affiliations
This results in groups that are divided against one other. This is not merely an experience in governmental organizations. It can actually pervade our private lives because it is based on the assumption that my group is right and the other groups is wrong, an us vs. them mentality where my group operates in exclusion to all others. This can be illustrated by the two camps of progressive and conservative Christians. Each is critical of the other, making enemies of those in the opposing group.
Barrier #3: Hurry
This relate to the modern experience of hurry or lack of margin, a life pattern that causes us to see and engage people. The focus lies on the task at hand at the exclusion of acknowledging the people around us.
These barriers give us a hint as to how we fail to love God. Since the way we love others is the way that we love God, the barriers that arise between us and other people are the same barriers we experience with God.