Laying in bed the other evening attempting to put my son to sleep, my mind running a mile a minute because that’s what an introvert’s mind does, the story of the Good Samaritan came to mind. In Luke 10:25-37, a man beaten and stripped laid on the road. A priest passed by him and a Levite passed by him, before a Samaritan stopped to help the injured man. This story was Jesus’ answer to a question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25-27 NIV) And the follow up question “Who is our neighbor?” (Luke 10:29 NIV).
As I laid there recollecting the story, the actions of the people who passed by first, stayed with me. Both people were of the clergy (one ordained, the other by ancestory) with their own reasons why they didn’t stop to help the battered man. What were their reasons? Well, according to some sources, Jewish law frowns upon “cleanliness” and may have judged the man as unclean according to custom and law. If that were so, did they at least pray for the man as they passed by or is prayer enough to justify inaction? I guess breaking down the story further, one could argue about Jewish views versus Christian views, who’s right or wrong? But that would be a thesis in itself, lol.
As Christians, we are told to pray for our neighbor, we are told to speak to our neighbor because we could be entertaining an angel. (Heb. 13:2)The thought is indeed reflective but realistically, unfortunately people don’t work this way. If you say hello passing by you could get one back, or they could just keep walking as if nothing was said. One too many times of being ignored results in no salutation. So are we still “loving our neighbor” or just not entertaining rudeness?
Given the times which were “simpler”, people were more trustworthy. Yes, folks during those times could be shifty then but people were more open to helping others, giving the benefit of the doubt. Being #introvertedlyhuman, I pondered what would be one’s reasons for not helping anyone in trouble in this tumultuous present day? Well, people are a complicated bunch now. You can’t possibly begin to think what goes through people’s heads. Lies, theft, and more lies are easily thrown around more to get what is needed or wanted, resulting in the trust factor being gone. Those who are “shifty” can lie to your face with stories of hungry children or being a disenfranchised veteran, yet we don’t know if they are telling the truth so it’s easiest to just pass on by without putting the requestor on the proverbial “stand”. (Some Christians can be judgemental especially when someone is asking for money). I for one have given to a person in need and practice that whenever I have spare change, but you can’t help but wonder in the back of your head if they are going to use whatever funds they’ve collected throughout the day for what is needed to sustain hunger, cleanliness, or room and board(if they had a good day). But that’s on a smaller scale of help.
As I lay there rubbing my son’s back I thought about myself over the years as ever being the Levite. Because of my introvert nature, I act less and pray more because of being afraid to approach people, not wanting them to confuse my genuine care for being nosey or judgemental by asking questions. I may have been the Levite when I didn’t know Jesus or myself as an empathic being. Who knows? The signs could’ve been there and I didn’t think twice on it or because i used to walk with my head down to not give eye contact. I questioned myself till I was in tears because I wondered if this would affect my dream of becoming a nurse. Would I freeze up administering first aid or resuscitating a patient? Would I know the signs of opioid overdose and not freeze up calling 911? I tossed these thoughts back and forth until i was in an emotional frenzy. My husband saw the look of despair and worry on my face and he begged to know what was wrong to which I could reply the easiest answer “I’m doubting myself”. He consoled me the best way he could but I knew I had to pray for God to alleviate my pain and help to stop overthinking. (Overthinking is a blessing and a curse for an introvert).
Once relief washed over me, I knew what I had to do going forward I purposely pay attention to my surroundings now in case my radar goes off. I want to help, truly and make sure I’m ready. We dont need to know a person’s past life in order to justify giving aid, we dont need to know if they are a believer or not. Just help.
In conclusion, prayer coupled with action is the best policy. Give donation and pray that they will use it beneficially. If nervous that your actions will cause more pain, pray that God will guide your hands.
I have prayed for repentance for past actions ignored and listen to my heart more. I may not get every situation right, but it’s a work in progress to listen to one’s heart when life and personality are so…how it is, sigh. I, like the lawyer in Luke want eternal life and love my neighbor, so I will do what I can when I can as much as I’m able.