Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SLOTH (indolence; laziness) (01/29/15)
TITLE: Demanding Answers
By Katherine (Kat) Kane
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Don’t know if you’ll remember me; the last time you saw me I was in a sorry state. Life had just dealt me – quite literally – some very cruel blows, administered by a gang of bandits.
Day and night, I cannot escape the hateful memory of lying there, bleeding from every conceivable place, wondering when and if help would come, all the time terrified of dying alone and forgotten. Imagine the surge of relief that flooded through me as you approached, only to fall into crashing despair as I saw you hurry across the road.
I’ve been recovering at an inn for a little while, all expenses paid by a stranger – a Samaritan, I’ve been told. I couldn’t help wondering why an enemy reached out to me, yet two upstanding members of my people - our people – abandoned me. To tell you the truth, it has been bothering me somewhat. I was hoping you could tell me which of the following reasons were behind your decision to abdicate responsibility. However, based on our previous encounter, I’m not holding my breath.
It could be that you were too busy. I don’t mean to sound like I know more than you – after all, you’re the religious experts and I’m nobody important – but I thought the psalmist said “The Lord is compassionate.” I know serving God and all those rituals and rules are important, but would He really have minded you being a few minutes late to show that same compassion to one of His servants? I’ve sometimes wondered if the priorities of religion really reflect those of God. Since that day, I’ve become convinced that they don’t.
I also wondered if you decided that helping me was a job for somebody else. You know, the whole ‘not my ministry, therefore not my responsibility’ shebang. I won’t pretend caring for me was cheap, easy or pleasant for either the Samaritan or the innkeeper. And yes, they’ve been put out quite a bit. I don’t know why the Samaritan was going that way; I can only suppose it was something important. And the innkeeper is a busy man. True, he’s being paid, but I’m pretty sure nursing was hardly his ‘calling,’ or whatever the jargon is. Yet both willingly accepted the challenge and inconvenience of caring for me without complaint and haven’t sought excuses to palm me off onto someone else. They cared enough about me to do what was needed. You, on the other hand, wouldn’t even offer me the bare minimum of trying to comfort me as I lay there, terrified and vulnerable.
The most generous explanation for your behaviour I can offer would be that you were afraid. I can well understand why you wouldn’t want to end up in the state I was in, but think about this – what if you had walked up the road an hour or so before me? Our positions would be reversed. Imagine lying on the ground, beaten to a pulp, and then someone walks by. What would you expect them to do? I suspect your answer is that you’d want someone else to help you, even if it meant taking the risk of being clobbered. If you ever find yourself in this position, I hope whoever finds you won’t let fear make a coward of them, as it did you...
Or, it could simply be that you opted to do what was easy in preference to doing what was right. In other words, you couldn’t be bothered.
Regardless of the reason(s), the only action you chose that day was to ignore me. I hope you’re suitably ashamed that it was a kind Samaritan who showed me more of the truth about God, Whom you claim to represent. The wrong done to me moved him to compassion; the only thing it moved in you two were your feet – fast, and in the opposite direction.
Anyway, I suppose my loss was language’s gain. Your legendary indolence coined the phrase ‘to walk by on the other side.’
The thieves might well be the guiltier party insofar as they were the ones who left me to die, afraid and alone, from the wounds they had inflicted on me. But then again, in your haste to run away, you two also left me for dead.
The man you left to die by the roadside.
Based on Luke 10:29-37 NIV
Ps 103:8 NIV
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