Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37 challenges us to extend mercy to those in need. In this story, the priest, Levite and Samaritan all saw the need but only the Samaritan stopped to help.
The Good Samaritan stopped to help because he felt compassion.
He had so many reasons not to stop to help the man who had been robbed, beaten, and left almost dead. But, he hurdled the social and religious stigmas and he looked beyond the personal cost of his time and resources. He allowed himself to be so deeply moved by this person in need that helping became the only option.
That's what true compassion does. It compels us to act, to do what we can. Like the Good Samaritan, we might not be the one to take care of the person's every need but we do what we can, when we can.
Compassion Dissolves Our Excuses, Making It Impossible to Pass by on the Other Side and Not Get Involved in People Helping Ministries
We could come up with a number of excuses of why we can't get involved and help those in need. Once we truly allow ourselves to feel compassion, however, it's hard to hold on to those excuses.
Lack of means to help? - Compassion moves us to find something we can do to help directly or indirectly.
The priest and Levite undoubtedly had the means to personally help but if not, they could have looked to their social and religious network to do what they couldn't. If they had compassion, they would have at least stopped and given the man some water. Or, they would have gone to get help if they truly didn't have the means or know-how. They might have waited with the man until better help came along.
Too busy? - Compassion has a way of shifting our priorities as we make time for what we view as important.
The priest, Levite, and Samaritan were all on their way somewhere. The Good Samaritan, however, moved by compassion, did what he could, left the man in someone else's care, and then came back when he could.
Too scared of not knowing what to say or do? - Compassion causes us to stop long enough to truly see the person and assess their needs, usually making the next step obvious.
Having gotten close enough to the injured man to see his cuts and bruises, it became clear to the Good Samaritan that the first step was to bandage the wounds. Remember, they didn't have cell phones to call 911. They didn't have ambulances to take the person to a hospital. Tending to the injuries was obviously the first step for the Good Samaritan.
Being a Good Samaritan Can Involve a Variety of People Helping Ministries
People we meet along the road of life may have varying kinds of needs -- physical, financial, emotional, etc. They may have experienced loss, trauma, abuse, etc. Being a Good Samaritan may not look exactly like the person in Jesus' parable but if moved by compassion, as he was, we will act in some way appropriate to the need.
Click below to learn more about these different ways we can reach out in compassion and extend mercy to those in need.
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