Lately I’ve felt driven to blog about some topics that will almost certainly make people, at the very least, uncomfortable.

Discomfort. It’s something most of us try to avoid but it has its purposes.

If you go hiking and your sock seems to be rubbing, you stop to fish out the burr that would otherwise rub your skin raw. A coffee cup that’s too hot to handle? Probably too hot to drink from as well. Physical discomfort is our body’s way of letting us know that we need to pay attention.

Emotional discomfort works a lot like this. Whether the topic is violence in the schools, hunger in young children or domestic abuse, there is a news story somewhere that makes you want to change the channel or leave the room. You click past the blog without reading it. It just makes you too uncomfortable.

Why can’t people just stop it with all these negative topics? Doesn’t blogging about negative things put more negativity into the world?

Not necessarily.

There is a lot of negativity out there and it is our job as Believers not to add to another person’s misery or hardship. This includes not spreading hate and not conducting myself in ways that would negatively impact other people either economically, emotionally or spiritually.

Topics that make people squirm?  That doesn’t fall into the same category for me.

Physical discomfort is a warning from your body. Emotional discomfort can alert you to a different kind of danger — ambivalence.

If this topic (bullying, hunger, domestic violence) is not addressed, things will only get worse for someone. As Christians, we are called on not to ignore these situations but to change them. I know this because Christ told us the story of the Good Samaritan.

The super duper condensed version (you can read the full parable here): A man was beaten, robbed and left on the road. The first person to come along was a priest. He didn’t stop. The second to come along was a Levite, a priest’s assistant. He didn’t stop. The third person was a Samaritan. He stopped to help.

Now all of these people most likely felt something when they saw the beaten man, but two of them managed to rationalize not stopping. If the man was dead and the priest touched him, the priest would be unclean. It would take a week of expensive rites to restore ritual cleanliness and in this time the priest would not be able to work, thus his family would go hungry. Good reason.

Ditto the Levite.

The Samaritan on the other hand stopped and helped although the risk he faced was even greater than that faced by the other two. In stopping to help a Jew, he put his entire family in danger. If the wounded man died, the family could demand revenge. If the Samaritan escaped, one of his family members could be killed in his place. Yet, he helped and it was his example that Christ told us to follow.

The next time the hardship of another person makes you feel uneasy, stop and wonder why. Perhaps, you’re being called to action.