What is a Good Samaritan? How can we as Omahan’s become a Good Samaritan? When you read the news do you ever wonder how can I make a difference?
I serve as a women’s ministry leader through speaking and teaching on the radio and at various women’s ministry events. This opens the door for me to meet women in many places with a variety of needs. I have prayed that the LORD will give me compassion in action for years and I have known Him to answer this prayer as I look at a group of faces and I feel the expression of His love warm my heart.
Yet, as I study the Good Samaritan, I feel overwhelmed by the must of compassion in action. In a given week, I receive numerous contacts via email, facebook, and phone calls for me to meet a need. I cannot meet them all. I often feel guilty that I am not living compassion in action because I can’t stop for each one. I feared that I am becoming like the priest or Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan that walked away. Does the parable of the Good Samaritan imply that compassion in action is a call to meet all needs expressed to us? Or is there more to this passage?
How many times has someone with a perceived need pressed upon me the want of me to meet the need when honestly as a wife, mother and lay Christian leader I could not? I read every commentary I could find on this passage and all say clearly it is a “must” of the believer to show love to the neighbor in need. Let’s just say, my anxiety increased! This is when the LORD caused me to realize that in this parable the emphasis was upon a physical need of someone that could not help himself, not a mental or emotional need expressed by another for me to meet. This person could not meet his need because he was so injured he was out of it.
A good neighbor is willing to stop and minister to the physical needs of another. It does not matter if the person is of the same socio-economic status or cultural background. The person needs safe passage physically to wellness and a place to stay. So, I ask myself, would I stop to meet the need of an injured person? Yes, without a doubt. Am I willing to open my home for the one passing through? Yes! Indeed! My heart is not hard to even emotional, social, and mental needs. I am willing to help, but the help is different. These often require spiritual insight. The Good Samaritan expressed compassion in action through seeing the person, dressing the wounds, finding a safe place for recovery and even providing financial help to see the person through to healing.
My struggle occurs when the need is expressed by the other that I am the one to meet the need; this is not a person that cannot help herself. She just does not know yet how. The struggle happens when it is an emotional or mental need brought to me by the other. It is in these moments that I am learning to redirect the individual in need to the Word of God to meet Jesus and find the answer to her need. It is no longer my responsibility to meet the need. At this point, the most compassionate thing I can do is help the person find the right passage that applies to her need. The need might be the confession of sin and returning to God or it might be the owning of a spiritual truth in order to find release and relief. I then help the person process how to apply this to her life. Some are willing. Some are not. This process is never easy.
There comes a point in helping that the most God honoring thing to do is to let the person walk away. A person has to be willing to do what is necessary for health and healing. In the case of physical injury and immediate crisis, we meet the need. In the reality of habitual sin or deliberate disobedience, we must release the person and pray.
We are to meet the need of the one, but not every need expressed to us to meet is our job to meet. As a women’s ministry leader, I must pray and ask GOD for discernment in order to know to whom I am called to serve. Jesus showed love and compassion upon all people. He looked upon the crowds and had compassion upon them. But, Jesus did not heal everyone. He focused on the one that demonstrated faith. Jesus affirmed over and over the one that had faith. Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.”
I have found peace in providing the scriptures that deal with the issue when it comes to a mental, social, or spiritual issue. Compassion in action related to these situations provides the WORD because Jesus is the WORD and HIS compassion will overflow through it. When I give the WORD I know that I have given what is most important.
The Good Samaritan does meet the physical immediate needs, but more often then not the Good Samaritan will meet more people with mental, social and spiritual needs than physical and in these situations compassion gives what matters most the Word of God to guide the person toward inner healing.