“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was:
and when he saw him, he had compassion on him”
I’ve always loved and appreciated the Parable of the Good Samaritan. A wounded man, left for dead, is passed by two people who should know better. They left him there to die, and continued on their way with their hardened hearts. Finally, a man stopped. The Samaritan. He looked on the injured man with compassion, bound up his wounds and made sure he would be taken care of at a nearby inn. Jesus is trying to teach us who our neighbor is, and we must learn to have that compassionate heart.
But today I was lost in thought, wondering about this good Samaritan. Yes, I realize that this is a parable. But I still thought… why was he different? What was going on in his life or in his mind that made him want to stop and help? What could he have been doing as he traveled that dusty road? Was his heart heavy with worry or sadness? Was he possibly feeling anxiety over not being able to find work, since he was a Samaritan? Was he having problems in his marriage, or with his children? Was his mother sick? Had his brother been injured with no one to care for him? Was he finally in a good place after a time of heartache? Was he acquainted with grief? Was his heart softened by sadness or tragedy, and that made him more compassionate? And then, after helping the wounded man, how was the Good Samaritan changed? Did he feel purpose and wonder and gratitude? Did he feel that the world was just a bit bigger and he had an important part to play, no matter how small?
I started pondering this because of the experience of a friend of mine. Ganel-Lyn has been fighting some emotional battles and has been working so hard, and is exhausted. One morning, she realized she had to go to the store. She was tired. But she dragged herself out the door and to the store. As Ganel-Lyn entered, she saw a woman headed towards the restroom who was homeless. My friend followed a gut feeling and followed her into the bathroom, and offered to buy the woman breakfast. Ganel-Lyn said “As I gave her a simple sampling of food, she praised me and God. She was an example to me of not loving her situation but trusting and praising God. I can be more like her.”
And then this: “I left Walmart feeling DIFFERENT. I left feeling that the world had expanded past my own concerns. I left feeling God close because of connection with some of His BEAUTIFUL children.” Sometimes the answer to our prayers for peace and relief are answered when we serve and connect. God will direct our paths for good when we bring a compassionate heart with us everywhere we go. We can bring hospitality to any place when we bring a compassionate heart.
How have your heartbreaks and tragedies affected you? Have you become hardened, or can you use those tender and raw times to find compassion for those who are suffering? Can you bring a compassionate heart with you, wherever you go?
Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Psalm 147:3 “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”