Hey Friend, it’s Angela here this week. I pray that you have been as encouraged as I have by our sisters who have shared their hearts over the last several weeks and months. You will want to keep reading because we are adding more and more women to this project and I am increasingly excited about what the Lord is doing through this blog and the ministries of women all over the globe.
As we have been talking about wholeness of body, soul and spirit in Jesus, I wonder if anyone else may be like me and relish a good “to do” list. Okay, in the pursuit of transparency, I am an avid list maker. Please don’t hold that against the collective community who writes on this blog but I needed to confess it! Whew, I feel better now. Seriously though, as I have been thinking and praying about the “steps to cultivating wholeness in others” I really just wanted God to give me a “to do” list. In His patient and most gracious way, He led me to a portion of Scripture that answered my questions with His principles to be lived out rather than a “to do” list to be accomplished. I realized that Jesus is continually teaching me about “long haul living”. We will be unpacking this more and more over the coming months, but how amazing that Jesus didn’t come to this planet with a simple 3 step “to do” list. He came to live a perfect life, die a sacrificial death and rise from the grave to accomplish an eternal redemption plan for all mankind. He calls each generation of men and women to live for the long haul as well.
Before I move on with this post and the Scripture passage, I have another confession. I fail daily to walk out the principles that we are discussing today. I have not always cultivated wholeness in others and may have more than likely contributed to some of their brokenness, but thanks be to God who is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4) and bless the Lord for His grace and the forgiveness of Jesus and many of those who I have sinned against. Because life with Jesus is about progress not perfection and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), I wake up and start another day with His strength and a desire to follow Him.
If you are like me and you read the phrase, “cultivating wholeness in others” and you are tempted to log off…don’t do it! Let the Holy Spirit use this time to convict you and then pour His grace over your heart and head and remind you to walk on in love and forgiveness. Maybe you need to ask someone to forgive you, or maybe you need to forgive someone else. That might just be the first thing on your “to do” list. There is freedom in repentance and confession followed by forgiveness.
So, let’s look at the passage of Scripture that the Lord used to teach me about how to contribute to the wholeness of those around me. It’s found in Luke 10:25-37 and if you have grown up in church it will be known to you as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Please don’t skim over this because I believe that the Lord wants us to see some key principles in this text and not just a cute story with a band aid attached to a piece of construction paper. Read it slowly with me…
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
I don’t know about you, but if I am being completely honest I have been every character in this scenario. I have been the wounded one who has no more strength to go on and was helped by dear friends. Unfortunately, I have been the priest and the Levite and refused to stop, notice or help another person who needed help. And by the Lord’s grace I have been the Samaritan who has stopped and helped and seen Jesus bring the healing and ultimate care of the wounded.
We will cover three principles that the Lord showed me in this passage today and a few more next week. I am praying that these encourage you and help you minister in a way that blesses the Father and others.
- The Samaritan stopped – this is the beginning of our journey in cultivating wholeness in those around us. We have to simply stop! But more often than not, we are too busy and have too little margin in our lives to stop and be used to help someone in need. I love how much ministry Jesus did on His way to something or someone else.
- The Samaritan saw – eye contact is a huge factor in ministering to others. Many times, I have been so focused on my plan, my life, my issues that I do not see the pain and suffering of those around me. I have been convicted about not looking cashiers or servers or even sometimes my friends and family in the eye as they are talking to me. We must see those around us! I love the Hebrew name for God “El Roi” – the God who sees! (Genesis 16:13) Incidentally, this name was spoken by Hagar in the middle of her brokenness and as she received God’s words of kindness toward her and her son.
- The Samaritan had compassion – sometimes we “see” that someone is hurting but we do not take the time to “feel” their pain or allow their brokenness to affect us. This compassion is especially hard when we too are in a season of brokenness. But, even in the midst of suffering, the Father uses the pain of others to help us remember Him as we encourage others. Compassion was such a hallmark of Jesus’ life and ministry. Throughout the New Testament, we see Jesus having compassion on groups of people and individuals and then ministering to them. We must learn to “weep with those who weep.” (Rm 12:15)
We will cover a few more observations from this portion of Scripture next week, but for now, I want to encourage you to begin this week with a surrendered heart to stop for others. Remember, most wounds are not physical. People suffer from broken hearts, wounded relationships, hurtful thoughts and painful pasts. Take the phone call, send the text, ask the question, write the note, stop in the hallway or sit down with someone who is hurting. Join me in asking the Father to give us His awareness to “see” the hurt in others and then to genuinely feel compassion for them. Now, let me give one warning that I will reiterate next week…we are not called to fix every problem, nor heal every heart. There is only One person who can do that…Jesus! But as His daughters, we are called to engage others and walk with them and lead them to the Healer, the Fixer and the Redeemer.