By Larry Ackley
When you think about the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), what role do you play? Are you the Levite, a devoted churchgoer who is fearful about getting involved? Do you wish you were the Samaritan, selflessly ministering to the violently abused, dying victim? Tim Keller (Generous Justice) points out the twist Jesus put on His parable: He wants me to realize that I am first and foremost like the waylaid Jew: desperate, dying, whose only hope of salvation is to be rescued by someone who owes me absolutely nothing – who actually owes me the opposite! For while we were still helpless, while we were enemies, God was moved with compassion and came and saved us, not just risking His life, but giving His life; paying a debt that was impossible for us to pay for ourselves.
But if by the Grace of God we do understand how Jesus saved us, then what do we do? Well, Micah 6:8 says “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness [chesed, “mercy”], and to walk humbly with your God?” None of this of course is to get God to love us; He already does; but it’s how we can love Him.
But perhaps the most life-altering, all-consuming violent injustice that faces the Church of Jesus Christ today is slavery, the trafficking of an estimated 36 million people. You’ve seen the pictures and you’ve heard the stories, and it probably gets you mad, wrenches your gut, and makes you feel overwhelmed. But if we the Church are going to respond, then what’s our motivation? God’s Grace drives us there! Jesus said He came “to bind up [restore] the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners”, and we are His hands and feet as He continues to establish His Kingdom. Weren’t you a slave to sin? But through the Cross we became new creations, in order to look more and more like Jesus, as individuals and as a Body active in the restoration of all things, AND telling people why we care – what is our motivation!
There are many, many concrete ways we can do this together – let’s get together and talk about them!