In honor of World Kindness Day let’s visit Luke 10 of the Bible to see what Jesus says about showing kindness:
When I read Jesus’s famous story of the good Samaritan, I wish I could be the hero showing kindness, but honestly I can relate better to the bloody pulp of a man lying stripped, beat and half dead somewhere along his journey in need of kindness.
The man in the story was on the move from one place to the next but something bad happens along the way. Really bad.
It’s not like he went that way looking to get assaulted. Sure it was a tough road to travel but certainly he did not expect for this to happen. He was hoping, like we all do, for an easy journey from one place to the other.
Likewise when we move from one address to the next, we realize there may be some risk along the way, but we plan, take precautions, and hope for a smooth transition.
Maybe you get through your move with just a few bumps and bruises. But sometimes the emotions of moving jump out and beat the @$*& out of you. You feel half dead because your old life feels kicked out of you. You are beat up with destructive comparisons, doubt and fear. Anxiety cripples you. Your roles and relationships feel taken away leaving you stripped of your identity. You grieve the loss of your friends, family, community and even your favorite donut shop. You wonder if you’ll ever breath the deep air of contentment again. Your shallow breaths just suck in painful reminders of how helpless and hopeless you are.
If the man was still conscious, he may have heard the footsteps approach. Fear and hope compete in his mind. Will this be another attack or an answer to his anguish?
The Unheroic Heroes:
Along come two likely heroes. Good people. Surely they can help.
But he is too messy. Too wounded.
The first saw him but crossed to the other side of the road. He passed by.
The second saw him and moves close enough to smell the blood. But he too crossed to the opposite side of the road. He too passed by.
It’s out of their comfort zone. They assume someone else will be along shortly to help. They have no experience with such wounds. If they stop to help they will be making themselves vulnerable. Perhaps he deserved it, besides they have their own issues to deal with and schedules to keep. He was too messy, too wounded.
They saw, passed by and went away.
Have you felt the disappointment from those people at church, your neighborhood, a club, or those mom’s at school that just walk by. They don’t see you and even if they do, they pass by. They don’t cross the room to find out your name. They don’t cross the street to bring you baked goods when the moving truck is in the driveway. They pass by to sit at the table without an extra seat. No one crosses over to offer relief to your wounded heart. You had looked to them with hope, but they look past you.
The Unlikely Hero:
Along comes the third traveler. The unlikely hero. The Samaritan.
Why did the Samaritan cross the road? To get to the wounded’s side.
The Samaritan was no chicken. He didn’t just cross the road, he crossed all the social, political, racial and religious barriers that kept Jews and Samaritans on the opposite sides of the road of life.
The Samaritan saw need. Pitied the needy. And went to meet the need.
The Samaritan man saw, pitied and went to.
He met the man’s need at his own expense and inconvenience. He soothed his wounds and bandaged them. He made himself vulnerable and his journey more difficult by giving his ride to the wounded man.
It reminds me of all the obstacles Christ overcame to cross from heaven to earth, to cross from death to life to come to my wounded side. I had put my hopes in other people and things but only Christ came to my rescue with true healing. Because He first crossed over to rescue me now I have life and empathy to see, pity and go to the needs of others.
The Unsung Hero:
I would have loved to see the reaction of the InnKeeper in the story when he saw this unlikely pair at his door step. When he saw them, did he hope they would pass by or did pity flood his heart? Perhaps profit was his only motivation. Regardless, they were welcomed and went in, into the Inn.
The Samaritan continues his care of the wounded man at the Inn and once proved worthy, the Samaritan entrusts the InnKeeper with the rest of the recovery process.
As I think about my own recovery from my moves, there were special groups and people that Jesus led me to; who assisted him like the Innkeeper did the Samaritan. They were a place of refuge when I was vulnerable. They welcomed me Inn even though I was messy and wounded. Jesus trusted them and paid them out of his own pocket. They received payment from God’s economy of joy instead of expecting something from me. Jesus promises to reimburse those who take care of the wounded for him abundantly. So give kindness freely and generously to the messy. We don’t have to be let the wounded pass us by, we can be open and welcome the hurt Inn to our lives, Jesus will provide all we need to love, encourage and be a safe place for them.
We all have roads we once traveled that we can set up an Inn along. My experiences in moving multiple times allows me to set up an Inn for those who get attacked by the bandits of a move. Maybe your affair, your addiction, your abuse, your loss, or your illness has given you the compassion to be an Inn for those who are traveling through those dangerous places.
Sometimes a little kindness can seem overwhelming with so much brokenness lying around. It seems easier to just pass by for one justification or another. But because of the Cross, we can safely cross the road to get to the wounded’s side. The cost of healing has already been paid, we can open our Inn for those on the out.
Be A Good Samaritan. Be a Good InnKeeper. Be Kind.
Hours after publishing this, I was on route from a hair appointment to pickup the dog from the vet and be home before the school bus. But first I had to pick up some shirts for the next day’s Just Moved party. A few houses down from my pickup location was a broken down van with four women. My article was too fresh, crap, I had to practice what I just preached so I asked if they needed help. Their car wouldn’t start but they were ok they communicated in their basic English.
I patted myself on the back. Crossed the road, check. I’m a hero.
But as I passed back by, I realized checking in wasn’t enough. The Samaritan saw the need. Pitied the need. Went to the need, not just rolled down the window and slowed down.
What do you need, I asked again, but I had parked and got out of my car. I had a screwdriver in my hand but that might as well have been a lollipop. I let them know I was really here to help, not just be nice.
One of the women accepted my ride in my modern day donkey aka Subaru Outback. I got her dropped off and made my errands with still enough time to beat the bus home. I don’t add this to toot my horn but to give God glory because He is sovereign over time. To prove his promise that he will provide in abundance when we take care of those he brings to us.