Thanks for joining us for Monday’s Mantra and our “neighboring” series. Grab your favorite beverage and come on in for a few minutes away from any distractions!
Today is a special day: the birthday of someone who was once a stranger, someone who I dared to neighbor almost twelve years ago! Oh, how she’s taught me the value of neighboring for we never know what stranger will become one of our dearest friends…and she also taught me the value of this one principle we will talk a bit about today: Listening! So happy birthday, Janine Peace!
Let’s get back to this parable Jesus uses to teach us so many things about neighboring. In this parable we see five things that the Samaritan did for the wounded man all done because of the compassion that moved him. In Luke 10:34 we read that the Samaritan went to him (moved by compassion). 34”So he went to him and bandaged his wounds”… Let’s stop right there and talk about the physical and spiritual significance to this second act, bandaging his wounds. Now, I know we don’t all carry around a first-aid kit, though the Samaritan apparently did. So let’s take this to a deeper level and exchange “bandage” for a different type of bandage, in other words, something that makes a wound better.
Maybe our neighbor isn’t lying in the middle of the street bleeding, literally, exposing his or her wounds. However, we have all experienced in some form or fashion running into, or being connected to someone who is hurting…on the inside. What do we do when someone dares to share their story? The greatest bandage we could ever use is the gift of listening.
We cannot learn our neighbor’s story if we do not listen; we cannot remember one thing about their story without compassionately listening, and we cannot learn something about them if we are not listening with our hearts, not just our ears. The word “listen” is in the Word of God only once and it’s in the O.T.; however, “hear,” and all of its forms, is used over 500 times! We have one mouth and two ears; we’d do well to speak less and listen more. I love what the Hebrew translation says about listening:”to hear intelligently” – in other words, using all senses — …”often with the implication of attention and obedience”! So, listening produces obedience!
Picture yourself before you came to accept the reality of the necessity of Jesus into your life. Would you consider yourself as someone who had been robbed in some way by the enemy? In what way or ways were you robbed and what were you stripped of? Who played the Good Samaritan in your life? In other words, who encouraged you, listened to you, helped you with your wounds?
Let’s switch the characters in the parable here to bring this closer to home: The Good Samaritan is Jesus, the one who binds up our wounds and we are that man in the road, stripped, beaten and wounded. Psalm 147:3 tells us that HE heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. How has Jesus bound up your wounds?
When we remember where we came from, and the compassion given to us, we are better-equipped to help bandage by listening to our wounded neighbor. Who can you practice the art of listening to today?