Love in Action by S.C. Morrow

Love in Action is a Harsh and Dreadful Thing…

by  S.C. Morrow | Thinking On Spiritual Things

The famous Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky, wrote his last novel, “The Brothers Karamozov,” in 1881.  He spent two years writing it and millions of people consider it to be the greatest novel ever written. 

Dostoevsky’s main theme is found in the characters of Zosima and Alyosha (faith), and Ivan and Fyodor Pavlovich (doubt).  The conflict is about the consequences of a free will and arises from the fact that every person is free to believe in God, or not to believe in God.

One line in Dostoevsky’s book states, “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.”  

This may be the greatest line written by man because it’s a summation of God’s teachings. Remember what Jesus said when he called his disciples? “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”  After floundering in their first attempts at following Him, the disciples’ love grew strong and they became the faithful apostles that we know today.  All of them died as martyrs, –harsh deaths for Jesus, our Master, except for John who died of old age.

One the greatest stories about “love in actionwas told by Jesus in the story we call “The Good Samaritan.” (Luke 10:25-37 ESV) 

The Kind, Compassionate Samaritan

“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’

He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’

And he answered, ‘You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.’ 

And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.’

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’

Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’”

“Love in Dreams”- The Priest and Levite 

This parable is about “love in action” by the Samaritan versus “no love/no-actionon the part of the unkind-unmerciful priest and Levite.

When the priest andthe Levitepassed by on the other side of the road, perhaps they assumed that the bloody, beat-up-man was dead and probably would die anyway!  Or, perhaps, if he was dead and they touched his body, they would be required to go through several days of cleansing according to the Law of Moses. And after all, they were priests. Perhaps they thought, “I don’t have the time!” “I don’t have the money!”  “I have places to go and important things to do!”  Perhaps they had appointments to go preach a sorely needed sermon on the subject of “Love”?  But, as with Dostoevsky’s quote, their love had no substance.  Their love was “love in dreams.”

“Love in Action”- The Kind Samaritan

But there was a Samaritan mantravelling along who saw the beaten-up and half-dead man.  He was kind and felt sorry for him. He got off his donkey and helped him!  He poured oil and wine on the places where he was bleeding and put bandages on him.  His love was a “love in action.”  No doubt he had a difficult task of loading the limp, dying man onto his donkey.  He probably got blood stains on his clothing as well!  It was a“harsh and dreadful thing”!But this kind Samaritan somehow managed to get the man’s unconscious body onto the donkey and carry him several miles to the next town. There he checked into an inn.

The next day, the compassionateSamaritan took out two silver coins from his purse (two days wages) and gave the money to the inn keeper.   He told him to be kindto the injured man, and if that money wasn’t enough, he would pay the extra that he owed when he came back through on his business trip.

Lawyer’s Question– Jesus’ Answer

So, after Jesus answered the lawyer’s question about “Who is my neighbor?,” it was Jesus’ turn to ask a question.   

He asked, “Three men saw the man that was lying on the road. Which of them showed loveto him, like a real friend?”

The lawyer answered, ‘It was the man who was kind to him.

Then Jesus said to him, “Yes. So you should go and do the same for other people.”

Jesus, Our Ultimate Example

Jesus is our ultimate example of kindness, compassion, and “Love In Action.”  He, being God, the Word, the Creator of the universe, volunteered to come to earth and be a sacrifice for us all on a cruel cross. What did Jesus have?  He had kindness, compassion, and mercyupon us!  He gave up a comfortable place in heaven to rescue us from certain spiritual death! 

The Parable of the Good Samaritan isn’t a story told to us for our amusement.  When Jesus told the Lawyer, “Go and do the same for other people,” we can be certain that he wants us to do likewise.  It’s not acceptable to God to withhold compassion and mercy,–to pass by on the other side when we see someone in need!  Many times the love and help that is needed is “harsh and dreadful” and not easy to deal with, but this kindness is “God-like”and far better than disappointing our Master when we come face to face with him in the day of judgment!

May we be reminded,–may we redouble our efforts,–may we remember not to pass by on the other side!  Yes, ‘Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams,’but this kind of love is God-like!  And when we see Jesus, it will all be worth it!

Leave a Reply