We don’t really know the reason people make the choices they do. We may only somewhat understand our own. At times we even make assumptions and jump to all kinds of conclusions about others decisions. However, unless the person shares their feelings with us, we are only making a guess about them.
The Scriptures tell us a story of an injured man on the side of the road and the response of three by-passers. The purpose of this parable was to teach what it takes to be a truly loving neighbor. It drives home the point that in order to love the Lord we cannot physically see with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, we must love the neighbor we can see.
Our story begins by telling us about a man ambushed and severely injured by a robber. He lies on the side of the road, possibly close to death. The first two men, a priest and a Levite, pass by on the other side. For whatever reason, they avoid getting involved in the situation. We can make guesses as to their reasons, but instead should put ourselves in a similar situation and honestly evaluate what we do. Don’t we pass stopped cars or the filthy individuals holding signs and asking for money all the time?
Jesus points out that the third man, who stops to help the injured man was first and foremost a man of compassion. The fact that he was a Samaritan adds more validity to his compassion as he crossed cultural differences to assist the hurt man. We are told the Samaritan went above the call of duty by not only taking care of the immediate needs of this man but assuring the innkeeper his desire to foot the entire bill to see that this man received the necessary care for him to regain his health.
This parable reminds me of two particular incidents in my life in which the Lord placed caretakers in my life as a young lost girl. The first was my first grade teacher and the second was my seventh grade teacher.
As a seven year old I took a fall on the playground, skinning up my knee. My teacher comforted my tears with a hug. I had no idea at the time the reason I craved affection from her, but what would be considered modern day self-inflicted injury, I fell every day afterward. I received the exact same response each time, comforting arms. I believe compassion for a troubled little girl drove this woman’s response to me.
By the time I reached seventh grade, my private struggle with suicidal thoughts consumed most of my waking hours. I decided to take a risk and gave my English teacher a journal entry revealing my dark and dismal thoughts. For the next two years she invested even some of her off hours trying to instill in me a sense of self-worth. Unfortunately, it was void of the saving grace of Jesus, but it did keep me alive to find Jesus as my Savior in the middle of my sophomore year of high school.
As I reflected on this parable and these teachers placed in my life, I realized their provision in my life from the Lord. Due to my insecurities, I had few companions my own age and carried many deep unresolved fears far into my adult life. It took decades for me to fully comprehend how the Lord lived this parable out in my life with my own Good Samaritans.
How about you? Can you reflect on your life and see the way the Lord brought a person of deep compassion into your life? Do you see the way they went beyond the call of duty to help you? How did his or her response give value and meaning to that difficult time in your life? When you were bleeding and needing someone to bind up your wounds, what did they do to care for your injuries? Even if they are no longer a part of your life, praise Jesus for providing them for you when you needed them.