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 soul 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 was attacked by 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.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
- Luke 10:25-37
What does the following story have to do with the Scripture above, the Parable of the Good Samaritan? In today’s world, the priest and the Levite would shut down traffic in both directions, parking themselves in the only available lane, taking videos of the crash scene.
Okay, I just gave away the ‘mystery’ of the story, but here goes. Yesterday, I wrote about a customer who yelled at the waiter in a Mexican restaurant, but today I want to talk about the traffic jam that we drove through getting from the church to the restaurant.
We maneuvered from the church to the highway that goes by the doctor office and then a couple of blocks past to the restaurant. As we were climbing a hill, traffic stopped. The highway was five lanes wide. Two lanes of traffic in each direction and a center left turn lane. I thought there was just heavy traffic and the light was red, but as a single lane of traffic started flowing slowly from the other direction, I noticed that the traffic in our direction was almost not moving at all.
Through two cycles of the traffic lights, we had moved only two or three car lengths, but I finally saw the problem. There was a badly damaged car in the center lane, extending into the lane for on-coming traffic, thus only one lane flowing in that direction. There was a policeman with the lights on his patrol car flashing, but he was either investigating or checking on injured people, definitely not directing traffic. As we cleared the traffic light through a couple more cycles, I noticed a second vehicle that was blocking the outer lane in our direction, explaining why everyone was cutting me off, and a couple of others, to change lanes. What perplexed me at the time was that our lane was free to move, but it was stop and go, as each car stopped in the middle of the accident scene, leaving a slow trickle of cars moving south toward where the medical clinics were located.
Now, I was finally close enough to figure out what they were doing. Each driver stopped to take photos and videos of both crashed vehicles. They wanted to be the first ones to post it onto social media.
And I only have my wife to attest to the ghoulishness of the fellow inhabitants of our area. She said that in the vehicle to our right, on her side of the car, was an elderly woman who looked to be severely injured.
Am I a Neanderthal? My brain does not work like the others driving past that accident. I never think to grab my camera or my phone in such cases to take pictures. I would never take pictures of a severely injured woman just to get my photo or video picked up by the local news station. And would the news station be that ghoulish?
Is this how SICK we have become?
When I was in India about 20 years ago, a vehicular accident occurred near our vehicle. There seemed to instantly be 20-30 people there, running to the scene to provide first aid. But, in an area where we claim to be Christians, it is more important to take pictures of the injured people instead of helping.
I referenced a Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, a few days ago. I highly recommend it. It makes secular recommendations for the “cure,” ignoring that returning to God might help. My wife suggested that I write this article as proof that the documentary’s fears of a total breakdown in our society was happening before our eyes, with the ghoulish zeal of posting on social media to be more important than not rubber necking and possibly causing secondary accidents, more important than leaving some traffic lane for the ambulance to reach the scene and provide needed medical care, more important that their reason to be driving down the road in the first place. And no one pulled over to assist. They just stopped to take pictures, blocking traffic as they did so. I sped up to uncork the traffic without getting my phone out of my pocket, relying on my wife to look over the scene. My wife said that the police had the first aid well in hand (thus explaining the lack of directing traffic), but we were gone before the ambulance arrived, never hearing the siren.
Our first reaction should never be that of making a social media post, but in so many cases that is the first reaction for people. I have talked often about how we must repent individually, but also as a nation. Maybe we need a large dose of sanity, civility, and propriety somewhere along the way.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.