When faced with a hot mess that we have made or watched someone makes a big mess and wanted to walk away. We see a person who is a total hot mess and say “I don’t know where to start” so we just walk away. Maybe right now in your life or sometime in your life you had someone who was a hot mess that you wanted to walk away from. Someone who had made such a big mess of their life that you just wanted to walk the other way. You watched the decisions they were making, their actions, and you just wanted to walk or run away from their hot mess. That little voice inside of you was saying “Don’t ask questions. Don’t get involved.” Alarms inside of you are going off, and it was so messy that you just pretend you didn’t notice anything and you walk away. Jesus addressed this very topic. One day Jesus and some lawyers were having a discussing with about thirty or so others around. When asked Jesus relied to the lawyer what does the scripture say about that? The lawyer correctly quoted the Old Testament scripture of love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said, “You are exactly correct. Now go do that!” And as Jesus was leaving the lawyer looking for a loop whole said, “Well who exactly is my neighbor?” Jesus did what Jesus does best, rebuttal with a story or parable to make his point. It is one of the most famous parables we all know the Good Samaritan and it was applicable to the lawyer’s questions as well as to us today. The message in this parable is clear. We don’t have to think hard to understand what Jesus meant or the point Jesus was trying to drive home. But the last sentence Jesus gets us. He says, “Now go and do likewise.” That is a directive that is so much easier said than done. We see a need, we see messy people, and we know we should go and do likewise but it’s so hard. It’s hard to figure out who, the where, the when and the how. We want to help but there is a fine line between helping and enabling. We all know people in our neighborhood, our families, our friends that when the phone rings and we see who is calling before we answer we already know they are only calling because they need something. What is in us that keeps us from answering. What is in us that as soon as we see the name on our phone we dread the conversation? What keeps us from responding like the Samaritan?
I believe there are three things that keep us from helping. First is inconvenience. Stopping and helping or moving towards someone else mess is inconvenient. Don’t we see people’s hot mess at our busiest time? We live in a busy culture. Being busy is not bad per say but we can be too busy. We can get busy and hyper focused on life so we say to ourselves “I don’t have time for you.” The priest and Levite were busy people. It was not like they were off to do something bad. More than likely they were off to the temple or church for a religious meeting. They were not evil bad people; they didn’t have the capacity of time for this man in their schedule. Sometimes we get so busy that we are too busy to follow Jesus. Here is a question to ask yourself if your life is too busy: Are the people who need you an inconvenience? Do you view them as inconvenience or an opportunity? We are too bust when messy people are inconveniences instead of opportunities to serve God, opportunities to love somebody. The second reason we walk on by is because it’s uncomfortable. Crossing over the street and moving towards a mess or messy people is uncomfortable. We love and walk towards comfort. We strive for our comfort zone. Comfort zones are good but not a great place to live. It we only live in our comfort zone, we may feel safe but we will not be happy. We will never achieve the best version of ourselves inside our comfort zone. We achieve the best version of ourselves outside our comfort zone moving towards the mess. God is using that chaos, that uncomfortable circumstance to help us love and grow. If we insist only on comfort boredom will quickly set in. The third thing that keeps us for moving towards a mess is we are no longer in control. We love control. If you move towards someone else mess you give up control. When you moved towards someone else mess you will learn quickly you could not control their anger, you could not control their drug use, you could control their violent outburst, you could control their very bad decision making. You know it gets frustrating. God doesn’t want you to control your messy person. God doesn’t want you to fix them. God wants you to be there, love them, and walk beside them. So if you are thinking your job is to fix the mess, take some pressure off yourself. God wants you loving and being there. People, especially mess people, are not projects. If you are wired like me, you like to embrace a problem and work until you find a solution. We need to let go and say God you got this. It’s not to address peoples messes the way we think they need to be fixed but to show up, be there, and let God do His thing.
Be nice to one another: