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A heart like His

“Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37)

That was the command Christ gave us after explaining the story of the good Samaritan to the disciples..

Here’s a reference point just in case:

30 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. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

In the New American Standard version it says the Samaritan “felt compassion” when he saw him. The original Greek word here is “splagchnizomai”, which is one of the strongest forms of compassion mentioned in the Bible. The definition of the original word describes it as “to have the bowels yearn” to be “moved with compassion.”

I thought it interesting that this compassion was described as a yearning from deep within that cause the man to “move” into action.

Of course, this type of compassion must be the compassion that I have in my heart (I thought). . .but God uses situations to teach me that there’s still a lot He wants to do in my life… and heart issues that need to be addressed and submitted to him.

I just finished reading The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne. Something he said really connected me back to my second home…. Calcutta.. This may look like a rabbit trail but I promise.. I’m getting to the point soon.:)

“It’s a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer a missions project but become friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream, and struggle.”

And though I call street children my family and beggars my friends, I wasn’t prepared for Friday. India, to me, is a beautiful country. A growing country– and yes though I was a part of history when I was here for the “largest blackout in history” , India still is becoming technologically advanced…. and has always held a dear place in my heart.

I’ve seen dying people, poverty at its worst, and in a place where many people do not know Christ and have nothing to give, humanity rises to the challenge and shares in the little they do have.

“So many suffer relentless poverty, each day wondering at living another; so many are refugees from disaster or violence, escaping under unfamiliar skies to avoid a closer death, grasping whatever it is they have left – a child, ragged clothes, a pot; so many are victims of injustice, of the vagaries of despotism or ill luck, with no legal system to which they can carry their hope.Yet despite the increasing vulnerability of life on Earth, we may well be coming to terms with the ‘marble and mud’ of our existence. For in the spring stirrings of the last few years, there seems a new grace born upon this world, perhaps nothing less than a resurrection of humanity. Not least, we are understanding more clearly that our living  –  this one-shot, too-quick breath of existence  –  must embrace an inherent responsibility towards the living of others. In concert with this realization, we are paying finer attention to two crucial questions: “How deeply do I care about our common future? How do I actually make a positive difference?(Tony Bails)

And for Christians, the “living of others” means the dying of self.

Friday.

… has been on my mind for days.

The heart is an interesting place. It holds the deepest of feelings, connects many with spirituality and is a muscle that no human being could live without. And in it’s complexity lies the truth of who we are.. the dreams of who we are to become… and the grace that God gives to address issues of the heart that need to be worked on…

Such was the case Friday, as I’ll unfortunately admit…

Though I’m here in Calcutta on business, a few friends visited and wanted to see the city. We all went different places: Some went to the HUGE palace called Victoria Memorial, some went shopping at new market (which should be a story in itself) and others joined me in the recycling area of the city– Canal Street.

Now don’t think of American recycling because thats definitely not Canal Street.

Canal Street consists of mountains and mountains of plastics.. of metal.. or anything that could possible be collected from the city and brought back here to be sorted. The area is known to be inundated with thieves, drugs, orphans, widows and the homeless. A place I’m sure Christ would’ve visited had he been with us on earth today.

In the midst of the trash and open sewage and stench that purveyed the area, I looked lovingly at dirty kids who rushed me and thanked God I was able to return. My heart beats for this.

And as we played with children and they all jumped in front of my camera, I almost tripped over a man who was lying in the street. One of the children grabbed my hand and pulled me back saying, “No, Aunty– bad.”

And I stopped in shock and stared at this man… who was dying..

Never had I seen a person in this state….

He was lying on his back as if he’d suddenly collapsed, had lost control of all bodily functions and was lying in a pool of fluids

He looked dead.

Flies were surrounding his emaciated body and he couldn’t have been more than 28 years old.

The smell was ferocious… and could never be described here except to say I was getting nauseous…

I needed to check for his pulse and see if he’s alive…

…And as I reached for his hand, a local reached down before and said “no I’ll check.”  ( and I sighed a silent relief — just before braving the motion for his hand a million thoughts went through my head… Is he diseased? Why is he like this? If I touch him will I get sick?)

Locals began surrounding the area to tell me that he had a drug overdose and had no family. As I made a call for an ambulance and his life hung in the balance of eternity, I prayed that he would have one more chance.

And just as startling at it was to find him..He was gone.

Before anything could be done.

Days have gone by that I’ve replayed the scene in the mind.

I’ve always thought in a desperate situation like this there would be some romantic heroic fairytale ending…

and there wasn’t…. Life doesn’t always happen like that.

Instead it was a situation God used to show the condition of my own heart. How much love is too much and how much is not enough?

Dirty, lice infested, children are easy to love.We share everything..

Yes, even the lice.

But here, a man in desperate need, and I was more concerned with the what the effects of touching him would mean to me… to my well being….

I’ve read the good Samaritan story a dozen times and often wondered how those religious leaders could pass him by?

A man almost beaten to death and they walk by ….

I know now.

Lord give me the compassion you described in Luke 10… let it be something that comes from deep within, a yearning to be moved to action.

 

 

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