Stop and Stoop Down

The story of the Good Samaritan is one of the most common stories being told in a Sunday school class. The message is simple: there was a Jew who was robbed and beaten by bandits, left half-dead beside the road. Then came a priest, followed by a Levite (or a church worker) who both saw the man yet chose to pass him by. Until a man, a despised Samaritan, took notice of the body lying on the road, tended the wounds and took care of his needs – and much more! #HopeInHumanityRestored

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Obviously, the one to be commended is the one who stopped and stooped down to help. What he did was heartwarming and brings butterflies to the stomach. It is indeed an awesome story to share.

Digging deeper to the background of the story, we’ll find out that the Samaritans and the Jews are not in good terms. The rift between them is so immense that it is uncommon for Jews and Samaritans even to associate with each other. That’s why the disciples were so surprised to see Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman at the well. Thus, Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan isn’t a cool, mushy story the first time it was told – it is both countercultural and unheard of.

Fortunately, our family, nor any family I know, was never involved in rido, or clan/family wars. But this is a reality with our brethren in southern Philippines. Tribal wars still exist in many parts of the globe. No matter how we brag about building bridges through technology and globalization, we can never deny the fact that cultural walls are still on the rise and it comes multi-faceted – racism, sexism, religious indifference…

To stop and stoop down is easier said than done, especially when you, or someone you love, are being despised, when you’re being harassed, being taken advantage. But is it impossible? I don’t think so.

Inasmuch as I would like to relate myself to the Good Samaritan, I believe I am more of the first two took notice, but chose to pass by instead.

Surely, the priest and the Levite are both good persons. They are both committed to their calling, both devout and above reproach. Just like most of us. We are responsible employees, responsible parents or sons and daughters. Generally we are good people. We took pity for those who are victimized by wars, famine and uncanny sicknesses. We feel sorry for those who live in unimaginable poverty. We shed tears for people whose situations move our hearts to the core. In the first place, we are humans beings, created in the image and likeness of God. We are no rock nor piece of metal.

They both saw the half-dead person lying on the road. I believe they both felt pity towards the person. But maybe, and this I am not sure, maybe they are caught up with their own schedules. They have more important things to do than to stop and stoop down to help a total stranger, much more someone who belongs to the opposing party. They have ministries to attend to! They have meetings to facilitate, sermons to prepare, members to counsel, small groups to lead. They are busy. They already have too much on their plates and they cannot afford to add more burden to themselves. Maybe this is why I relate to them more.

I love how Christine Caine, the founder of A21 Campaign, a non-profit organization who strives to end human trafficking, puts it: “How often we pray for God to use us for His purpose – and then when He interrupts our lives to answer our prayer, we list all our inadequacies”

It is my desire to be used by God mightily to make a difference in the lives of others. I always yearn to be an instrument of change and an inspiration to many. I want to do great exploits for the Lord. This is what it means to be a “servant of God” – to be an extension of Jesus’ hands and feet and eyes and ears. Yet from time to time, as He leads me into situations to “suit up my Christian armor”, I end up pursuing the more comfortable, easier path, to the point that I cross to the other side of the road as if I didn’t notice the helpless around me.

How many people scream for our attention yet we chose to disregard them because we have other things of “greater importance”? How many people asked for help, asked for a listening ear, but all we offer is our divided attention – or no attention at all. Instead of kneeling beside the person like what the Samaritan did, we distance ourselves. We are caught up with our own “busyness” that we can no longer afford to stop, much more stoop down.

What makes us less of a human? Sometimes it is not our lack of compassion. Most of the time, it is our preoccupation with too many things. This is my personal prayer: that the next time I see someone in need, I will be courageous and compassionate enough to stop whatever I am doing and stoop down, offering help even if it costs me my inconvenience. Lord, make me like You.

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