We heard an excellent sermon on Sunday (yesterday). It was the first of three sermons on the topic of The Good Church. This week's sermon was titled The Two Sides of Being Good. I wish there were specific URLs that I could direct you to but you have to go to this general location, Cape Cod Church Teachings, and then select the message. Another unfortunate thing is that the messages may not be available for long. Some stay there for quite a while but others seem to go away quickly. I should ask about that and see if there is a way to make all the messages available for as long as possible.
The two sides of good were explained as Truth and Grace. Truth as in knowing what God asks of us and doing it. Truth as in knowing what the rules are and sticking to them. Grace as in forgiving and accepting. Grace as in: we received it from God and we should give it as well. The text was from Luke 10:25-37 (New Living Translation) which includes the story of the Good Samaritan. In the story, the priest and a Temple Assistant (the New International Version calls him a Levite, a lay leader) pass a man who has been robbed and beaten but don't help him. They certainly knew the law and were considered Godly men. But they showed no compassion. The Samaritan, on the other hand, shows compassion and helps the man. But as our minister pointed out, he didn't just want to help but able to help. He had bandages and medicine and acted on his compassionate feelings. Also, he paid to put him up in an inn after he had made sure he was OK.
The illustration that will remain with me was when our minister said, "Would you use a GPS unit in your car that, when you got to an intersection, said, 'Go whichever way you want.'?" You have to know what is right and what is wrong. You can't truly help someone by being wishy-washy. Also, grace is necessary because the Samaritan could easily have said, "You should have known this was a dangerous road. You got what you deserved." Instead, he was able to put himself in the shoes of the man who was beaten up.