Text Box: The Good Samaritan
By: Judy E. Denby
Sunday night on our way to evening worship, Peter and I came upon a minor accident.  No one was hurt but traffic was backed up and a man was standing in the cold without a jacket, trying to direct the cars around his own disabled vehicle.  Naturally we stopped to help.  Well, I must admit, it was natural for Peter.  He's been doing this for years, and I'm proud of him for it.  I still have a bit of fear about this sort of thing, and I'm sure it's from too many years of hearing about car-jackers and people who stop to help and end up paying for it with their lives.  As a woman traveling alone, it has been drilled in to me repeatedly that you DO NOT stop at the roadside, even to help someone.  I have violated that rule, however, especially at the scene of accidents when my training has been needed, but not without some anxiety.  As if the fear of being robbed or murdered isn't enough, you also hear about medical professionals who help but then are sued by the victim or his/her family (fortunately most states now have Good Samaritan laws to protect us). 
That brings to mind the story from the Bible (did you ever wonder if the name of that law would be changed by legislators who want to get rid of every trace of Biblical influence in the lives of the public?).  The parable of the Good Samaritan is found in Luke 10:30-37, and most of us are familiar with it.   A man is beaten,  robbed, and left near death; a priest and another man pass by but give the victim a wide berth; finally a Samaritan comes along, apparently the last person on earth who would be expected to help the victim, and it is he who takes care of the wounded man and shows compassion.  What always catches me is the command of Jesus in verse 37: ”Go, and do thou likewise.” 
If you notice, He's not saying , “Go and do it if you feel safe” or “Go and do it if you have the time to spare in your busy life”.  Peter and I had a long talk about this the first time he stopped when we were driving together, at the scene of a moose-car collision.  I was nervous, hearing my father's voice over and over in my head, saying “Keep driving.  It's late, you're still hours from home, someone else will take care of them.”  At least I felt relatively safe with this particular situation, but we were both tired and anxious to get home.  We helped as much as we could and of course we survived, but Peter picked up on my reluctance and later we talked about it.  My greatest concern was that someone could use a situation such as this to take advantage of Peter and rob, harm or even kill him.  Guess what?  Those guys in Luke 10 surely had those very same concerns, and that was why 2 men passed by.  The one who is used as our model is the one who, with no concern for his own physical well-being, stopped to help one in need.   From a spiritual point of view, there are many verses that Peter and I referenced as we talked about this issue.  In II Timothy 1:7, Paul is reminding Timothy to be bold in using the gift he has been given from God, and says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  God does not give us fear; in fact the total opposite is true, as  Paul reminds us in Romans 8:31-39.  We are MORE than conquerors!  We are also not to fear those who can harm our bodies, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:28.  I could go on and on; the Bible is full of scriptural references that tell us that fear of anything earthly should not be a part of our lives if we are in Christ.  The hard part is to put that in to practice in our lives.  It is one thing to say that I trust God.  It is quite another to stop at the side of the road in the middle of the night to see if someone needs help. 
I am not going to put myself in a position of telling another what to do, since I know how it feels to be in that situation.  The unfortunate fact is that sins live in this world, and there is the distinct possibility that in stopping to provide roadside assistance, you are endangering your life, and making yourself vulnerable.  The challenge is for you to ask yourself what God would have you do, as there is also the possibility that you are going to be used by God to bring about a change in someone's life.  Peter carries Gospel Light Ministries business cards, and hands them out to those he helps.  Almost everyone is so grateful to have been helped the he or she will not turn down the card, and we pray that they will take a minute to read the plan of salvation written on the reverse.   I have reached the conclusion that when Peter stops to help someone, I can do a lot just by praying; for Peter's safety; for the person needing help; for the chance to make a difference in a world where it is commonly believed that people really don't care about each other.