Specificity counts.

Though I may say the same thing to every family who has lost a loved one, it counts that I say it to each family. And in my best moments, though I say things to all the people in the room, it often matters that I speak to each person in the room.

Some of us are given to exaggeration. We speak in generalities. We say “all” and “every”. We say, “I know there are exceptions, but just about everyone I know.”

Jesus doesn’t use generalities when they are not true. And we find very specific conversations.

Rather than saying “all Samaritans”, he goes out of his way to have a conversation with a Samaritan woman near a Samaritan village in a region where Samaritans lived.

When he told a story about loving others, and he was able to make up the characters, he used a Samaritan businessman as the hero of the story.

When another Samaritan village refused to serve him because he was heading to Jerusalem, he protected them from James and John, who wanted to call down fire on the village.

He understood their animosity, he engaged in conversation, and he made up good stories.

Jesus understood that all people had broken relationships with God and others. But rather than condemn all, he relates to each, he gifts each, he forgives each, he knows the hairs on the heads of each.

Following that model, following Jesus, could mean that we look out for the well-being of each. That we understand the struggles and injustices and fears of each.

It takes time to attend to each when you aren’t God. But the more each follower of Jesus does to offer whole-person compassion to each person that we can help, each person that is in our life, the more love will happen.

I cannot care about (or hate) all people. But I can commit to love and not hate each person in my world. So, perhaps, can you.