Religious Moderation and Life Service

Religious Moderation and Life Service

Gtpministries.org – This week’s study focuses on the Word of God taken from: Luke 10:30-35

  1. Jesus replied: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'”

We are grateful to the Lord that we are placed in this pluralistic Indonesia. Indonesia, consisting of thousands of islands, has a population of around 280 million people. We live amidst diversity; in ethnicity, language, and religion. Thus, our nation is known as a multicultural nation.

How do we as Christians live amidst this diversity? How can we live harmoniously and in peace with those who are different from us?

The Lord Jesus teaches us to love our fellow human beings as ourselves. This is very understandable, for it is the same Lord who created us and others.

God loves all humans regardless of their ethnic background, nationality, culture, language, or religion. God gives the sun to both the good and the evil. He also gives seasons to all human beings. We are all fellow creatures of God.

There are several things that indicate that all human beings are the same, namely:

  1. All humans are created by the same God – Eph. 2:10
  2. All humans are created in the image and likeness of God – Gen. 1:26
  3. All humans have a spirit within them to worship God – Zech. 12:1, John 4:24
  4. All humans are vessels to be filled by God – Rom. 9:21-23
  5. God loves all humans – John 3:16
  6. God desires all humans to be saved – 1 Tim. 2:3-4
  7. The Lord Jesus died for all humans – Rom. 5:8

Thus, we can understand that we are all the same. In order for us to live in harmony and peace in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, we need to see our similarities with others so that we can pay attention to each other, help each other, and cooperate and collaborate to realize a better life.

The above Word of God teaches us that not only can we live in harmony with those who are different from us, but we can also help and serve those who are not the same as us. The Lord Jesus conveyed this to answer a question from a Torah expert who asked who our fellow human beings are. The passage above shows us that there was a man who was robbed and violently attacked. Not only was his property stolen, but he was also beaten and left half-dead.

We might ask: Who is this person who was robbed? Although it is not clearly stated about his ethnicity, nationality, or religion, since these words were spoken by the Lord Jesus to answer a question from a Torah expert and because the person who was robbed came from Jerusalem, we can know that the person who was robbed was a Jew.

At that time, there was a prevailing chauvinistic view that considered fellow beings to be of the same race and religion. Samaria was a major area in the northern part of the state of Israel, also its capital city (1 Kings 16:24, 29). Around 700 BC, the Assyrians conquered this place, then brought people from Babylon and pagan nations to inhabit it (2 Kings 17:6, 24). Since then, the inhabitants there (the Samaritans) became a mixed-blood society between pagans and Jews. But the Jews did not recognize them as part of the Jewish people.

When seeing that there was someone who really needed help, the heart of this Samaritan was moved by compassion, immediately helping the person who was almost dying. Actually, this Samaritan had many reasons not to help: the Jews were not friendly with the Samaritans; the Jews did not consider the Samaritans as part of the Jewish people; the Jews avoided socializing or even crossing paths with the Samaritans; the Jews considered the Samaritans as second-class citizens.

I am reminded of Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, a figure of religious moderation, who said: “Religious moderation never uses terms like ‘enemy,’ ‘opponent,’ ‘fight,’ or ‘eliminate’ against those who are considered excessive and beyond the limits in religion. Because the goal of religious moderation is to invite, embrace, and bring those who are considered excessive and beyond the limits, to be willing to come to the middle for a fairer and more balanced approach to religion. Furthermore, in religious moderation, there is no such thing as an enemy and hostility, but rather guidance and comfort for even the most extreme.”

Thus, we know that in terms of religious moderation, it is not the religion that needs to be moderated but the way we practice religion, the implementation of religion in daily life that needs to be moderated.

Brothers and sisters, perhaps you are a public official or a community leader, perhaps you are a leader in a company, or perhaps you are a civil servant. The Lord has placed us in this multicultural country. Whoever we are, we are Samaritans today, we are servants of the Lord, whom the Lord has placed in our respective positions, we are servants of life.

Although the Samaritan was not regarded by the Jews, as soon as he saw the dying man, he immediately helped him, without asking about his religion, identity, or even questioning how the Jews had treated the Samaritans up to that point. May the Lord continue to bless us, so that our hearts are preserved like this Samaritan, easily moved by compassion. If someone is not a fellow believer, they are certainly a brother in humanity. Amen.

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