We’re all quick to justify the choices we make. And we can get so good at this that we even sidestep our duty to love – bypassing the good that is ours to do because we’ve convinced ourselves our way is better.
No doubt the priest and the Levite were fully convinced they had better things to do than to help a wounded man on the side of the road. And they likely felt very justified that they were doing the more spiritual thing and didn’t want to distract themselves from this “higher call.” But they neglected their duty to love in that moment by walking on the other side of the street, however noble their calling elsewhere might have been.
And we’re prone to engage in similar acts of spiritual bypassing.
Spiritual bypassing is when we use spiritual justifications to do what we want to do while avoiding the true call of love in that moment.
For instance, this is believing our work and ministry is more important than spending time with our wife and kids. Without giving up the ways we serve our larger communities, this is never a justification to neglect loving those in our own home.
And even closer to home, serving others is not an excuse to neglect our own heart and life with God. We cannot hide behind serving others while failing to grow and do our inner work.
Likewise, we cannot avoid offering ourselves to a situation just because it’s not our natural gifting to do so. We must answer the needs of the moment even when it calls us out of our comfort zone and the usual ways in which we serve.
Of course, every battle is not ours, and there is much wisdom in discerning our part to play and when it’s best to defer to others. But this discernment must also include the many ways we’re prone to bypass the good that’s ours to do through our spiritual justifications.
You’ve been called to do many noble things. But don’t use this as an excuse to neglect the immediate needs of love right in front of you.
Photo by Caroline Veronez on Unsplash