Monday, November 25, 2013
Be the Samaritan~
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
It's no secret that much of the heartache and stress in life is self-induced. We've all done utterly foolish things that came back and bit us in the backside. We've all dug our heals in and paid a dear price for stubbornness. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus doesn't really explain what the man was doing when he was attacked, just that he was going down the road. Yet, when we run across someone who has been beaten down, how often do we scrutinize how they got there before we decide to help? The phrase, "kick 'em when they're down," came from some universal truth. It seems to make sense to let someone pay for their mistakes so they learn a lesson. Consequences.
I'm not opposed to consequences. What I've learned is to be cautious about letting natural consequences occur as an excuse to do nothing.
What if the Samaritan had said, "What were you doing traveling alone?" "Why weren't you more careful?" "What were you thinking?" A half dead man probably isn't in any condition to learn a lesson. Instead, the Lord tells us that the Samaritan tended to the man, provided him comfort and an opportunity to heal. No, he didn't move the guy into his basement and protect him from ever having to travel again. He just gave the measure of help that would enable the injured man to get on his feet. Kindness, that's what I'm thinking of. There is no value to withholding kindness. Even while hell is the ultimate consequence for our sin, God never withholds gentle mercy. He gives to us as much as we will receive. He rescues moments.
We can rescue moments without erasing the lessons learned of natural consequence.
We can provide a meal without paying the rent of a person who is habitually irresponsible with their finances. We can be the person who doesn't insist on talking about the problem and give the relief of a few hours of escape. We can babysit for those overwhelmed parents who "shouldn't" have had a baby so young so they have an opportunity to nurture their own relationship. On and on, the rescue of moments that minister to someone who has made their own lives painful might give them just enough strength to pick themselves up and do better.
Be the Samaritan.