I see someone suffering, but he doesn’t look like me. Why should I help him when it will take something from me? I don’t have the time. I don’t have the money. I’m struggling myself. It doesn’t make sense to help someone else.
I turn and walk away from the suffering man. His suffering offends me, convicts me, and messes up my plans. As I walk away and glance over my shoulder a small child walks over to him. The child asks him if he’s okay, says something kind, and offers to get him a drink. It took mere seconds for a smile to emerge from the hurting man’s face.
The child has no money, but asks a nearby shopkeeper for a bottle water for the hurting man. The shopkeeper moved by the child’s kindness gives the child not only the water for the man, but something to eat as well. I’m immediately flooded with compassion for the hurting man, and admiration for the child who helped him.
Suddenly I noticed the man was a husband and father. I saw the shiny ring on his finger and a bag with diapers in it sitting on the ground next to him. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? Why did he seem so ‘different’? Was it the color of his skin? Was it the way he was dressed? Even if he isn’t a husband or father, doesn’t he still need help? Why did it take a seemingly helpless child to awaken my humanity? I decided to swallow my pride, walk over, and see how I could help.
This is a fictional story, but it is not an unrealistic one. It reminds me that if we look beyond the surface we will see more similarities than differences between us and ‘others’. It also reminds me that sometimes it takes very little to make a difference.
In Luke 10:30-37 Jesus shares the parable of the good Samaritan.
To summarize the passage in today’s language, a man was mugged and two people saw him lying on the ground injured. They both walked by him and offered him no help, but a Samaritan man saw him and had compassion. He helped the man and paid for him to get medical treatment.
Imagine if it were your beloved child, brother, son, husband, or uncle who was suffering. What would you want someone to do for him? I would like to think I would be moved by compassion as the Bible says Jesus was (e.g., Matt 20:34, Mar 1:41, Mar 6:34) and as the Samaritan man was in the parable Jesus shared. Will you be moved by compassion?
How will you shine today?