Be the Somebody to Anybody
Alaina Mayes | 6/26/2013, 12:57 p.m.
The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the Good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I don’t stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Which character are you?
I’ve come to understand that we usually believe we live a life that fits more of the Good Samaritan’s character at most points in our lives. But, I find that more often than not, the thought processes that guide our giving and service to others fall more in line with that of the Levite and priest.
These guiding thoughts are very similar to the thoughts of the four fictional brothers Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. Three very capable men who together could have made great strides and impact in their world and community but chose to sit and wait for someone else to make a move.
I believe that although we may have good intentions, our Good Samaritan thoughts very rarely become gestures, words, and real actions that affect the lives of others around us. We have these nice thoughts that begin with “If I could I would…” or “If I had more….” that at best don’t take into account that the very people you could be serving have nothing or very little than you do.
Each and every person we come across is living out a story. A story that if told has many lessons and opportunities that were both squandered and taken full advantage of. But, most importantly, their story consists of opportunities to help and be helped, situations where they needed a blessing and could have (or should have) been a blessing.
I’m wondering who we think our neighbors really are. If we think our neighbors are our closest friends or our family, people we like, or share organizational affiliation with. Because certainly they just aren’t those we live next to as we don’t even talk to them.
Could our neighbor be anyone in need? ANYONE in need of ANYTHING.
I’m starting to believe that the very moment we choose to ignore the needs of our neighbors known and unknown, near or far, similar or starkly different; we choose to see that person as less than ourselves. We choose to minimize their plight. Maybe because we’re comparing our lifestyles, situations, and circumstances to our own. Maybe it’s not because we see others as less than ourselves. Maybe we’re so oblivious due to being so entangled in our own lives that it’s impossible to see another.
Why do we feel this other person is less important? Why are we so obsessed with ourselves that we don’t take the time to step outside of our own bubble? Whose standard are we judging these people by? Furthermore, if there is a standard, who put it in place and where do they want that bar when they are in need?
Many times we feel that our help won’t make a difference. That because we don’t know the person directly someone else closer to them will step up. We aren’t directly impacted or weren’t directly asked so……. (fill in the blank with whatever you’d like). If we aren’t impacted by a cause, if it hasn’t touched us personally or is within one degree of separation, we aren’t motivated to move.