We have all heard the phrase the “Good Samaritan“, but have you read the story? I’m not one to go around and quote the Bible, but this is an important story that has been lost on many people.
Luke 10: 30 -37
30 “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Today while on Facebook a friend of mine posted a story, an event from the night before.
“I wasn’t going to share this because of the myriad of feelings it evoked, but…okay last night I was working in the office late. Left here [the office] around 9:40 to drive home. I drive surface streets and was driving through Culver City and saw a kid I recognized with a flat tire and he looked distraught. No cell phone in hand and looked like he was about to cry. I’d guess he’s maybe 16-17. Now let me preface this before I get into the story that I would normally NOT stop to help someone at night, ANYONE, regardless (out of fear) if I didn’t know them. I’ve read about how people get lured by women with broken down cars. Guys stop to help, and the dude hiding comes out and hits him and they rob the Good Samaritan…or worse. People have cell phones now, they can call for help. Again, sad state of the times I know, but reality. I know this kid who was trying to fix his flat because his dad refereed soccer with me. I couldn’t remember the dad’s name or the kid’s name, but he didn’t recognize me when I asked if he needed help and HE looked scared of me. He had a beat up older car and a spare there on the ground but didn’t have a jack. So I asked him if he needed a jack. He said yes and I helped him change the tire. All in all, took about 10 minutes and I got my hands a little dirty. Here’s the part I’m leaving out; the kid was black. He was SO appreciative telling me that he was late getting home, his dad was going to be mad at him and that he forgot to charge his phone while he was at his friend’s house. He went on and on about how he never thought a “white guy” would stop and help him. It broke me heart. I couldn’t tell the kid that I stopped because I knew him and that I wouldn’t have otherwise. He didn’t know that and I didn’t have the stones to tell him that. So I drove home completely mind fucked and told Jenni what happened. It’s weird when you try and do something good and it makes you feel absolutely horrible. So many things going through my head. Why are we living in a world where people are “afraid” to help each other…even if they want to? Thoughts of how prevalent race is and how defining it can be for people’s lives. All in all, it just made me feel…empty and sad. Which is a horrible state to be in, because I’ll admit I do kind things because they do MAKE ME FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF! People that can’t admit that are liars, but whatever rational is fine as long as kindness prevails.”
My Friend had a moment. Yes he only stopped because he did recognize the kid. But this situation brings up the question of the “Good Samaritan”. What kind of society have we created that we are too scared to offer assistance? It’s only your time, but it could make a major difference in a person’s life. People talk about how messed up things are in the world without taking responsibility for the madness. We all play a part in our society. BUT if we want a better world how do we owe it to ourselves to at least help make a better world? Fear. We have become too afraid to take the risk. We see the reports on the news and hear the stories from word of mouth of dangers that lurk in our streets. Bad people survive when good people turn away.
I was told once that if you allow people to take advantage of your kindness, you have shown weakness. I would beg to differ. The weakness isn’t in the helping hand or the kindness. It’s in the people who are too weak and aren’t strong enough to not take advantage of the kind.
Weakness and strength are often confused do to our perception of strength. Bigger is stronger, stronger is more powerful; power runs over those weaker than itself. This isn’t true. It takes greater strength to risk one’s self. It takes great strength to not give in to one’s fears. It takes great power not to give into your rage.
Is it better to walk away than to offer help? The helper is taking a great risk to self, offering a selfless act to help a stranger.
Here is the flip side: people who are in desperate need of help find themselves not able to ask or would refuse assistance out of pride. Is pride an attribute of the strong or the weak? There is no risk in pride. The silence and stoic looks strong, but it truth, pride can be an attribute of the weak. It takes greater risk to and the ability to push pride aside and request or accept help.
We are taught that independence and self efficiency is the only way to live. But we are humans and humans are communal animals. And in being so are honestly interdependent on each other. To be selfish, put you first. Put self first. I take care of me! If I don’t look out for #1 who will?
Some may argue that it’s wise to be selfish. There is no risk, save alienation, that comes from being selfish. And if there isn’t any risk, selfishness becomes an act of weakness.
The Good Samaritan… offered his time, his care, and even give of himself financially, all to help a stranger. My friend gave 10 times of his time to help a kid he recognized but could have very well kept on driving. One moment of selflessness may or may not change the world; but 10,000 acts, 1,000 acts, even 100 acts of random kindness can change the world or so says Morgan Freeman in Evan Almighty.
We have heard too many times about the evils in the world. This past weekend another mass shooting by another random lonely person. 6 people dead. While the conversation will turn to gun control and mental health, no one will say more people should have reached out to the shooter. In order to change the world, we have to believe it can be changed and willing to put in the work to make the change. We have to be willing to take the risk and be The Good Samaritan.
You have no control over how others treat you. You have full control over how you treat others. Just because someone is mean, unkind, or rude towards you is no excuse to be the same to them. True strength is overcoming your rage and maintaining your peace.
Thank you for your time. I hope you will be willing to offer a helping hand.