A Call to Love One Another
Michigan Conference president, Jim Micheff, addresses the recent death of George Floyd and others impacted by recent events and presents a way forward in the story of the Good Samaritan in this week's video message.
April 29, 2020 | Lansing, MI | Jim Micheff, President
Editor’s Note: Below is a transcript of a message, posted to Vimeo on June 5, from Michigan Conference president, Jim Micheff.
Greetings Michigan Conference Family,
With the recent and unnecessary tragic loss of life, my heart continues to go out in sympathy to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and to all who have suffered. I wish to express my sorrow and I pray for God’s close presence and peace to be with each one.
As a pastor, there have been moments when the turn of events is so grievous that I can’t find the words to express what I want to say. I simply stand by those who grieve and pray in my heart that God will make up the difference of my human limitations. This is one of those moments.
In the story of the good Samaritan, Christ portrays the nature of true religion. He demonstrates that it’s not possible to love God without genuine love for our neighbor. He also forever settles the question of, Who is my neighbor? My neighbor is not merely someone of the church or faith to which I belong. It has no reference to race, color, or class distinction. Our neighbor is every person who needs our help. Every soul who is wounded and bruised by the adversary.
This lesson from the very lips of Jesus is so important for us today. Selfishness is the root of racism, discrimination, and any other crime against a human brother or sister. It extinguishes the fire of love, and dispells the graces that make character beautiful. Its results are manifested in abuse of power, the mistreatment of others, and self-justification.
Our response to the moments in which we live either defy or affirm our profession of Christian discipleship.
Let me share this divine principle, “The way to dispel darkness is to admit light. The best way to deal with error is to present truth. It is [only] the revelation of God’s love that makes manifest the deformity and sin of the heart centered in self” (Desire of Ages, p. 498).
You see, to be a good Samaritan requires a realization that it is you and I that are heaven’s plan to relieve oppression, suffering, and distress. This is love. And the truth is that it’s been absent in many of our homes, in society, and sadly even in many of our churches. Some of us may wonder how we can represent Christ in this context.
The golden rule is the principle of genuine courtesy with its truest illustration seen in the life of Christ. In associating with others, we should aim to put ourselves in their place. We should enter into their feelings, their difficulties and disappointments, their joys and sorrows. We should identify with them. Then we should do to them as we would have them do to us if the roles were reversed.
Let’s be intentional and proactive to minister as Jesus did to those in affliction or sin. And when we see human beings in distress, suffering or despair, we shall never say, this does not concern me.
The Bible says it this way in Micah 6:8.
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly, To LOVE mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
God Bless You and Happy Sabbath!