- Luke 10:36, 37 (NKJV)
I must admit that I like to keep up with current events and the news. Reading newspapers, internet news sites, magazines, and even listening to news/talk radio is one of my hobbies. But there is also a deeper reason why I keep up with what is happening in the world. That other reason is because I want to love my neighbor.
Please allow me to define who my “neighbor” is. My neighbor is any other human being whom I encounter. I encounter other human beings in various ways. I can engage them face-to-face or I can encounter them without ever meeting or knowing them personally. So then, I encounter many neighbors. I encounter some of them through the news.
Jesus spoke of a news event which is recorded in Luke 10:30-37. The news is of a certain man who got attacked and beaten by robbers. The story is not pleasant or fun. Nevertheless, Jesus commends the one who paid attention to the event.
Three people actually came upon the event but only one paid attention. Jesus states that the first two people who came by the beaten man actually pass by on the other side (v31, 32). These two choose not to pay attention to the news event. They choose to ignore it, desiring not to be involved in the event. In contrast, the third person observes what happens and event gets involved. It is this third person whom Jesus says is a neighbor to the beaten man. This third person shows mercy. He loves his neighbor.
My point is that God’s people should be actively involved in the events of our world. I understand that we cannot follow every news story but we can follow some. We may not be able to help everyone but we can certainly pray for those in the news. This is the way we can be a neighbor, to be merciful, and to love others. Being a merciful, loving neighbor is what Jesus says to do (v37).
Some may say, “The news is so depressing” or “The tragedy is too overwhelming” in an attempt to legitimize ignorance of world events. I submit that this type of thinking reveals a lack of mercy on the part of God’s people. Believers are the ones who are to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
The Church must face the events of our world and filter those events through the truth of Scripture. By doing so, we remain hopeful in the promises of God despite the worst of events. We can pray for those who are “beaten” by the world. We may give the reason for hope that lies within us. If possible, we can take opportunity to get personally involved in lives to share God’s love. With God’s word as our filter, we can take an honest look at our world without being consumed with grief and despair.
What am I suggesting? I do not suggest that believers become news addicts. Neither should we only focus upon the bad news for God does great things in our world yet today. I am not advocating that we look at world events and wring our hands as do those who have no hope. I suggest that we be engaged in our world as ambassadors for the risen Jesus Christ and be a neighbor. Being a neighbor means not “passing by on the other side” but observing the events of our world and loving people with the truth of God’s word.
- Pastor Randy