Building Relationships We Can All Be Proud Of

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


In the discussion Jesus had with a certain lawyer, about good neighborliness  Jesus picked a vague Character whose identity was shrouded in mystery and therefore referred to as a Certain Man.

This certain man was traveling from one place to another; it could have been for anything. He could have been any man going for something or responding to something; something that drew him to where he was going, or something that pushed him from where he was. Nonetheless, he was going out for a purpose.

It is told that along this journey, he fell among thieves who brutalized him and robbed him of his personal effects leaving him half dead in the middle of nowhere; hoping he would be dead by the time the next human shadow showed up.

As he laid there in the blistering heat, cleaving on to life with gripping tenacity, praying and struggling to hold on to it a little longer, keenly awake to his humiliation, bruises, brokenness  and nothingness, there came to pass a couple of people. As we know it, most did not stop. Not the priest, not the Levite. I am wondering what was going through his mind as these people stuck their noses in the air, set their faces straight and walked on. I am sure he felt more pain in his heart at the betrayal than the wounds he was reeling from.

But can you fault them; the people that walked away. They had their plans; it was nothing personal. They did not hate him; they were just too busy to be slowed down. Every minute they wasted on this man was at a cost to them; a cost they were not ready to incur. They were looking at the avalanche of inconvenience that a moment's pause was going to unleash on them. Who travels with a sick stranger? What if it was a trap? You attempt to help and suddenly people from nowhere spring up and rob you too. What if in your attempt to help, they become a burden; a burden you must take care of even after they are well and ok. It could even be that they were too lost in their own pressing thoughts they did not notice him.

Then, one man, who could have given any of these fair reasons, decided to do the abnormal; He stopped. He actually stopped to look at the injured man and had compassion on him. He got emotionally involved with him. He was aware of the time cost in attempting to cater for the injured man, but he was willing to pay it. It was going to throw him off his schedule because he was not just idling in the wilderness looking for wounded strangers to help. He was about some business of a sort. However, he felt that could wait; this was a pressing matter. He was willing to bear the cost.

He took the man and cleaned his wounds; his wounded pride, his torn emotions, his scarred psyche, his bruised ego. He cleaned him; cleaned him from all the dust of his fall, the pieces of stones that stuck in his flesh…stones that hurt with every turn, stones of abuse, rejection and shame. He cleaned up everything.

Then he poured in the wine….he poured in the wine to prevent the wounds from festering, he attempted to help prevent the degeneration of the wounds; sinking in of the insults and the abuse, acceptance of the fact that he was nothing and could be nothing. He was preventing the wounds from going deeper into his blood and mind and heart and make him see himself as what the robbers wanted him to see himself as; vulnerable, cheap, helpless, waste, incompetent, loser, good for using and dumping, good for nothing but one’s amusement. He was preventing the scars from becoming permanent…permanent fear of the dark, of men, of women, of getting pregnant again, of trusting again, of marriage, of believing in God again… he had to stop it from going further into the skin…these bodily injuries…

After he had washed his wounds with wine, he poured in the oil….he soothed his wounds, told him everything would be fine; hushed him up from crying or complaining. He did not allow him to ask, ‘why me?’. He only bound he wounds with the soothing oil. He made him feel cared for, loved cherished, wanted and alive again. He gave him hope that in the midst of human cruelty and abandonment there could be salvation; that nothing was lost.

At his own cost and trouble, this Samaritan took the afflicted man to an inn. There he had him sheltered until he was fully recovered. He did not see it as a ‘half and half’ effort. No. he took full responsibility of him. ‘Some’ was not enough, ‘everything’ was. The Samaritan wanted to be sure that the next time the injured man saw the sun, he would have forgotten about the pains of yesterday; the hurt, the brokenness, the dissipated dreams and promises, the disappointment and humiliation. He wanted him to wake up and forget his nightmare. He made sure it was done and it was on his account.

Life is full of challenges and tragedies. Everyone is in to get what they want; and for some people it is with force and brutality. They take what is yours by every means possible, leaving you naked, humiliated, shamed, and wounded in spirit and in heart, after which they leave you to die. The shocking part is your pastor may not be that interested in you beyond his tithe and offertory, and your family members may be too busy to be slowed by you and your problems. They don’t hate you, it is nothing personal, they are just going their way and you are also going to lie there and rot.

After life has battered your wife…your husband and left them to die, tell them….your wife…tell your husband...tell them you love them. Help them forget the abuse and humiliation they must suffer and the daily struggles they must go through in order to have and provide for the home. Pour in the wine and stop the festering of the wounds your wife bears…the daily humiliation, abuse and discrimination because she is a woman. Pour in the wine to close the broken flesh of your partner’s servitude, because they do not have all the requisite papers; academic qualifications or work permits, because they do not come from certain backgrounds, tribe or race.

Life can leave us with wounded pride, shattered dreams and crushed aspirations. And as we lie licking our wounds, our secret prayers are that our loved ones will not abandon us, look the other way or become so engrossed in something else that they suddenly do not care.

In the hour of need, when all that is left is anger, pain and bitterness, lost faith and broken confidence, it's up to us to pour in the wine, clean the wounds, prevent them from festering, stop the pain from becoming entrenched. Discourage them from being discouraged; stop them from stopping and giving up. Stop the rapid growth of bitterness, hopelessness and a sense of unworthiness. Then pour in the oil, to calm their fear, sooth their pain, show them a better perspective, comfort their hearts, encourage them, strengthen them, challenge them, reignite them. Pour in the oil and bind their wounds.

And when you are done, provide them with shelter; the shelter of your love, comfort, a sense of security, daily bouts of assurance, trust, support, presence, fidelity, faithfulness, care and charity. Shelter them spiritually, physically, emotionally and psychologically. Shelter them from your family members because she or he is not like your sisters or brothers. Shelter them from the heckling of the crows you call friends and employers. Shelter them.

Make sure that when they step out the following day to take on the battle of life, they would be so healed they would forget the scars of yesterday.

Yes, it would come at a cost to you; it will cost you your time, your money and your energy. Nevertheless, whatever you choose to be, the story talks of two classes of people, those who did not help and those who helped. Someone somehow in some way would help. No one will die where they are not destined to die.

As a man, you can be the Priest to your wife, pretend you do not see what she is going through and pray no Samaritan comes along. As a woman, you can be too busy, leave your husband broken, and hope there are no Samaritans coming his way. Alternatively, you can be that Samaritan man…or woman…and you can be pouring in your oil, binding their wounds, and bringing them to full recovery, at your cost.

It is up to you to choose where you want to stand in this picture. However, your husband is broken, humiliated, tired, robbed, wounded, offended and everything that can kill a man’s spirit has been thrown him. Choose to care for him, let him be your concern because a man who is embittered in one aspect of his life can cause pain to others in other aspects of his life. A man whose wounded pride and dignity is allowed to fester, becomes a bad business to meddle in. Pour in the wine and the oil, bind his wounds and make sure he does not go down under that weight.  Someone is telling your wife her promotion is contingent on getting into bed with her. Someone is making her feel useless because she is a woman, someone is denying her her rightful place because she is a woman and therefore vulnerable. Every day, out there for her, is a constant struggle. When she comes home with all the wounds and the dripping blood, you can look the other way and pretend you have not seen her or that it is a normal thing, and go about your duty; or you can take her in, help her take her mind off it, sooth her fears and nurse her to fullness overnight.

It is not easy on him that he cannot impregnate you; it is not easy on her that she cannot get pregnant. It is killing her; the miscarriages. His inability to provide all the fine things he sees around is killing him. He wished he were your dream man, she wished she were everything your star mum you are doted on was and more. If she could undo the humiliations she has suffered from her past relationships, she would. If he could manage the many betrayals he has suffered in the hands of women, he would. These are his wounds… her bruises….help them heal. Do not abandon them; do not punish them for what they may not have had a hand in. Do not leave them to their fate. Ease the burden on their minds and hearts and tell them it would be all right. Help them forget the pains of yesterday….because if you choose to be their Priest, God will bring their way a Samaritan.

~PG Sebastian~
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