Saturday, September 18, 2004


Here’s what I’ve learned this week:

Mercy, or meeting people in need like the Good Samaritan did in Luke 10:25-37 is a discipline and a habit, not just a gift. I don’t think this is an area that comes naturally to me—I’m usually uncomfortable because I don’t know how to help effectively. And I tend to turn away.

This week I have had the privilege of being forced to grow in mercy. A very old blind beggar recently camped out in our yard, just sitting there for hours singing to himself in between naps. The other day I walked out of the office to see a woman lying facedown in our driveway. Today I noticed a boy had been sitting on our back wall since the night before because he had run away from home.*

I think I’ll keep my failures and successes to myself, and let you fill in the actions yourself—choose your own adventure, sort of.

One thing that helped me this week was the time factor. In America the mercy situations we’re faced with usually come and go very quickly, while driving through an intersection. In Africa they last all day.

But anyway, I am definitely growing in the discipline of mercy— thinking especially on the actions of the Good Samaritan and choosing to do at least something, and then being creative to find something that is both practical and loving. And the good news I’ve found is that as this discipline becomes a habit, and your creativity produces results, it gets a little easier and more natural to help.

*I hope you can imagine and appreciate all the pros and cons aid workers face in making decisions to help outside of their already-set-up programs.


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