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Who will you reach down to help?

Updated: Mar 19, 2023

Scriptural Reference: Luke 10:25-37

There’s a story in the Bible about a Jewish man who was robbed, stripped naked, and left for dead alongside a road. A Jewish priest saw him from a distance and crossed the street to avoid making contact with him and offered no help. Another man a Levite (a member of the Jewish tribe, Levi), did the same thing. Acting as if this man was invincible, and offered him no help. However, a Samaritan passing by, someone who was despised by Jews and vice versa, had compassion on the wounded man.

The Samaritan reached down, cleaned up the man’s wounds with olive oil and wine (to promote healing and prevent infection), put him on his animal for transportation, took him to a motel, and took care of him. On the next day, he told the motel management to take care of the recovering man and whatever the man needed, to give it to him and put it on his tab. The Samaritan promised to pay the motel of the accumulated expenses on his return. This story is a great example of mercy and compassion.

In Matthew 22:37-40 NIV, Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

You may ask “who is considered my neighbor?” All people are to be treated as our neighbors. That annoying co-worker, the mean in-law, the person who calls you a friend but you see that jealousy and envy plagues their heart, the person who looks, acts, and speaks differently than you, the commenting trolls on social media, the gossipers and slanders, the outcasts. It is easy to love the loveable, but can we show love to those who we deem un-loveable?

I remember, a few years back, we lived in a three-story apartment building. The neighbors that lived above us, the wife was not the nicest person to encounter. There was a repeated cycle and history of her rudeness. The kind of rudeness that made you want to yank someone up by their ponytail. Don’t worry, I didn’t. LOL

One early morning, I heard what sounded like a “large thud” by our front door. We lived on the second level, so I was used to a lot of loud noises now and then because of movers, folks walking by to access the stairs to get to their garages or vehicles, etc. Then I heard a bang on my door, I asked my husband did he hear it, because we were still in bed, but he didn’t. Then I heard it again. So, I got out of bed, went to the front door, and peeked through the peephole. I saw our neighbor (the rude one) on the ground.

I ran to my bedroom and told my husband, that I believed the neighbor was hurt and I was going to go outside to help her. I had not showered, brushed my teeth or hair (I know TMI), I looked a hot mess, and I went outside to help the person who had only shown me rudeness. I asked her what happened, she told me that she slipped and fell multiple flights of stairs. The bang that I heard earlier at my door was her signaling for help. My husband came outside, I told him to dial 9-1-1. She couldn’t move and I didn’t want her to move and injure herself more.

I asked her if anyone was at her home and she said her kids and visiting sister from Japan. So, I told her that I would go and let them know what had happened. When I got to her door, I knocked, no one answered. I knocked again and again, and then her teenage son answered “I told him that it was an emergency and his Mom had fallen down the apartment stairs and was hurt.” He stared at me with no emotion and said nothing. I then said, “can I speak with your aunt?” He took his sweet time going to get the aunt and then I shared the same news with her. She told me that she would contact her sister’s husband.

I went back down the stairs to where my wounded neighbor was and asked her if I could pray with her and immediately she responded “yes.” After I prayed with her, I sat by her side until the paramedics arrived and took her to the hospital. About a week later, I seen her sitting in her car, she waved to me. She rolled down her window and with the first warmest smile I ever seen from her said “thank you.” She then proceeded to show me her bruises on her arms and that she had badly injured her knee and had some injuries to her ribs. The few times that I would see her after that she was kind and friendly. About 2 or 3 months later, that family had moved away.

The story of the good Samaritan reminds me of that incident. What if he hadn’t stopped and helped the man that despised him? That man would have most likely died. What if I did not run outside to help my injured neighbor and pray for healing? Maybe someone else would have come along to help her or maybe not. Maybe her injuries could have been worse than what they were. I could go on and on with the ‘maybe’s‘. This I do know…God used the least likely person to show her compassion and mercy. I didn’t know her name. I didn’t know who or what she worshipped, but I do know that I got to display Christ-likeness to her in a time of need. I hope that a seed was implanted deep in her soul, that will grow so that God gets the glory in her life and she will be a tree of righteousness.

“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” ~ Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

Again, I ask “who will you reach down to help?” Be a blessing to someone today. Isaiah 1:19 says “if we are willing and obedient, we shall eat the good of the land.” You and I have a choice. Will our decision equal obedience and blessings or disobedience and judgment? May we all humble ourselves, choose wisely and be like the good Samaritan.

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