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The Three All-American Attitudes

A man was attacked while traveling a back road. The attackers beat him, stripped him of his valuables, stole his car, and left him half dead beside the road.

By chance, a well-known spiritual leader of the community came along the same road on his way to a conference on national transformation. But, when he saw the man lying on the side of the road, fearing for his own welfare and not wanting to be late for the conference, he looked around to make sure no one could see him and accelerated past the injured man.

A local businessman, known for his outspoken conservative religious views, also came upon the injured man. He slowed down and looked at him lying beside the road, shook his head at the sight, and mumbled to himself that the man should certainly have been more careful and had probably done something to bring on his situation. He also moved on without stopping.

Then another man came along the road. He was not from that area and had no specific affiliations in those parts. But, when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. He stopped. Going over to the injured man, the stranger administered first aid and bandaged the worst of the wounds. Then he helped the man into his car and drove him to a local clinic. He gave the clinic his credit card with approval to do all necessary to care for the man. Assured that the injured man was cared for and would survive, he went on his way. (Luke 10:30-37, paraphrased.)

You know that story in other words as one Jesus told about a kind Samaritan traveler in response to a challenge from religious leaders. He made the point that the traditions of religion can blind us to our responsibility to demonstrate love and care for those around us.

America must be healed economically and socially. It will take more than rhetoric on one side and demonstrations on the other. It will take an attitude adjustment.

There were three attitudes demonstrated on the road in the story Jesus told. The first attitude was that demonstrated by the attackers. "What is yours is mine, and I will take it." It is the most dangerous attitude of the three and is rapidly becoming the default way of thinking in American society. Unchecked, it will rip our nation apart.

The second attitude was that of the religious leader and the conservative businessman. “What is mine is mine, and I will keep it." It is currently the prominent attitude of our culture. It too is dangerous, for it breeds insular thinking that diverts from responsible attention to the needs of others.

The third attitude was that of the traveling stranger. “What is mine is yours, and I will give it." Note that the stranger placed no conditions on the extension of aid. It was free of bias, free of spiritual condition, and it asked nothing in return.

The commendation of Christ was to the third attitude. It is an attitude that demonstrates responsibility for others and voluntary sacrifice for a greater good. If you want a nation Jesus to it, one need at a time. What is mine is yours, and I will give it.

Get it right...a nation is at stake.

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