In reply Jesus said: “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. … But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.—Luke 10:30, 33 NIV
The Samaritan stopped in his tracks to take pity on the man who lay naked and half dead along the roadside. The Samaritan was busy like you and I often are. He was on his way to a destination, and he didn’t plan on encountering a detour. Yet, he didn’t delay. He came to the aid of the man in need of assistance.
Imagine your reaction if you stumbled upon someone in such a state. How would you have responded? Would you have been like the Samaritan, or would you have been like the priest and the Levite who both passed by on the other side of the street?
They didn’t help. They hid their eyes.
When we don’t look, we don’t see. But that doesn’t mean the problem disappears.
For us to be the change God desires in our culture and community, we start from a position of compassion. God calls us to take pity on others. We need to peel away the clouded layers of our spiritual cataracts, so we can see people the way Christ desires us to see them. When we look at others through the lens of love, we lend ourselves to be used to further Christ’s cause.
The wounded man was bloodied and brutally beaten. Yet, the Samaritan didn’t hesitate to assist. His hands and feet were an extension of our Savior’s, whose heart bursts with compassion to help the wounded and hurting.
The Greek word used in our Scripture for “took pity” is only used in the Gospels. Jesus took pity (showed compassion) for those in need. Including you and I.*
If all we did was take pity on others that would truly be a shame. Yes, we need to take pity. But then we need to take action.
That sounds great in principle, but it is not always easy. We all might want to help. But do we? Always?
One of the most difficult aspects for me is entering into others’ pain. I’ll do it, but it’s not easy. Often, I can feel a person’s grief as he or she laments. It’s as if the Holy Spirit stirs waters within me that create waves of compassion. The compassion is not me. It is He who is within me.
But even though I say it’s not always easy, it often is richly rewarding.
You see a young flower of a girl, blooming into her own beautiful blossom, because you were willing to engage in the traumas and trials of her life.
You see a homeless person in need of a hug and a sign he is still part of humanity.
You see relationships resurrected from the dead, because you obediently listened to the voice of God rather than your own.
You see someone you love say “yes” to Jesus for the very first time.
You see all this and so much more because you were willing to take pity and take action. It’s messy, sometimes “bloody”, and requires sacrifice. Like the Samaritan, you bandage wounds. Use your resources. Take care of others. You stop in your tracks, because Christ first showed you how, as He extended compassion toward you.
The lens of love unlocks the doors of God’s kingdom for those who otherwise might not have seen it any other way, if not through you. God could send someone else. Do you really want Him to? What might you miss?
*For further study, explore instances where Jesus allowed Himself to be interrupted, took pity, and took action (or taught on the topic). Matthew 9:35, 14:14, 15:32, 18:27, 20:34, Mark 1:41, 6:34, 8:2, 9:22, Luke 7:13, 15:20
Note: This series of devotionals reflect on concepts and truths presented in Undaunted, a Bible study by Christine Caine. The devotionals are written by Deb Hoang, Erin Nicole Thompson and Tracy Stella, as noted.