I’ve been thinking about something I wrote in my post last week inviting our married friends to walk with us singles. We are all journeying to our eternal home, and some of us are further along the path than others. Yet the journey itself requires us not only to return home but to return home with others. Walking with others along the path is a key feature of the journey.
And who exactly are those others? I know I’ve been harping on singles because, hey, this is a singles blog. But I don’t want to allow my own circumstances to cloud my vision from higher views.
The Savior was once asked, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29) He replied with one of His most well-known parables, the story of the good Samaritan.
We’ve all heard it. A man fell among thieves along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho and was left for dead. A priest came by, saw the man in need, and went about his way. A Levite came by and did the same. But when a Samaritan came by, “he had compassion on him” and ministered to his needs.
There’s so many lessons here, as is typical of the Master’s teachings.
Note the characters who did not help when help was needed. Both the priest and the Levite are priesthood holders and as such are under covenant to minister to the needy. Yet they both passed by on the other side.
It’s bad enough that they preferred to violate their covenant obligation. But they didn’t want even to be associated with the man in need. By their actions, they proclaimed their belief in convenience over compassion.
Not so with the Samaritan. Though considered an outcast by the priests and Levites, this man chose compassion over convenience. He didn’t see the half-dead man through the eyes of differences, though he very well could have. Instead he surrendered to love. And by so doing he saw a child of God, which is perhaps the greatest similarity we all share.
Dealing with differences
What do we see when presented with people who are different than we are? Do we focus on the differences? Or do we see the similarities?
We singles are well aware of how ostracizing the culture in the Church can be. When the focus is constantly on what you don’t have, a feeling of exclusion is natural.
Yet we are far from alone in feeling that way. Take the married couple who can’t have children. Or the married couple who don’t have any children soon after their marriage. The same pressure for acceptance through marriage that never-been-married singles feel presses against these married couples.
And what about those from lower economic situations? Or those who hold differing political views? The list goes on and on, yet the same habit plays itself out. When we focus on the differences between ourselves, placing others into boxes that highlight those differences, we walk the path of the priest and the Levite. We keep ourselves on the other side of the road and away from the covenants and compassion that should define us.
There’s no end to the differences when you focus on them. For example, we singles can talk all day about feeling like we don’t fit in with those who are married with families. But when we singles congregate, we often focus upon differences amongst ourselves. We have the same habit held by the priest and the Levite. We don’t associate freely with everyone. And very often the ones who most need help are the ones most avoided.
Fortunately, there is likewise no end to the similarities when you focus on them. If you don’t see the similarities to the people around you, then pray in your heart that God will open your eyes. And then look for a miracle, because that is what God will show you.
We are all children of God. Can we look beyond the marital status and the other differences we use to define each other? Can we have compassion upon those who are not the same as we are but need help? The answer is a resounding yes, if we choose to walk on the Samaritan side of the road.
We need to walk together. That means all of us. It’s not just fuzzy-wuzzy goodness. It’s essential for our eternal exaltation.
The process of helping one another along the path to eternity, regardless of our differences, is the very refinement that we all need to be worthy of eternal glory. It’s what must be in place in order for Zion to be. And I don’t know about you, but Zion is the place where I want to live.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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