The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is an epic scriptural example of what lies at the heart of compassion; it is the blue print for and archetypal with regards to formulating and nurturing a mind set, attitude and life model for compassionate living; on an individual and communal level.
We can interpret this passage in many ways; indeed God is trying to teach the doubtful experts of the law in question about what is truly central to discipleship and the law: How we care for and treat others; especially the mercy and compassion we show for the sick; essentially, how we honor all life as sacred.
As a mental health advocate and a Catholic christian who suffers from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), I believe that this example can be a very powerful tool for understanding that there is no room for worry nor negative self talk and low self esteem when it comes to the unconditional love God has for us in the hear and now.
God wants us to have compassion for ourselves as he has compassion and mercy for us; I believe he wants us to apply the Good Samaritan model to our lives and those exact moments our inner critics try to sneak in some very hurtful low blows to our morale.
Anxiety can be interpreted metaphorically speaking, as the robber in the story of the Good Samaritan; a robber that seeks to destroy our health and lives and steal our Joie de vivre; the menacing inner voice that seeks to deplete our sense of self worth, confidence and through the power of negative thinking take control of our health and relationships in undesirable and destructive ways.
But we don’t have to believe our thoughts and we can counter the negative ones via compassionate lines of thinking that are conducive to discerning and experiencing the promises of God’s kingdom.
Scripture supports this alternative:
2 Corinthians 10:5: “We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Isaiah 26: 3: “Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace; in peace because they trust in you.”
John 16:33: “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace; in the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.”
In light of God’s message in the story of the Good Samaritan, let’s ask ourselves: Would we ever talk to our best friend in the same way we speak to ourselves when in doubt and when we fall victim to negative self talk? Would you kick a brother or sister when they are down, throw a stone at someone who is simply down in the dumps?
Then why do this to ourselves? Why not learn to be our own best friends in the spirit of mercy and compassion; why not at least consider some sort of defense mechanism to respond to the robber when it comes to wreak havoc in our lives?
The next time you feel the prick and hear the smack of the inner critic whispering or screaming falsehoods about your shortcomings and character, breathe, close your eyes and take a few moments to consider how you would respond to a good, close friend who is in the exact same position as you are right now-who is being overly harsh on themselves whatever the context may be. Even if you only have a few minutes, sit down if you can and write down questions or comments you would ask and offer your friend in need.
Once you have done that, take your own advice; take a picture of your notes, put them on the visor in your car or in a visible location in a room in your house where you simply can’t miss them visually speaking.
The next time the devil wants to play with your heart and emotions, read the story of the Good Samaritan or refer to these notes: destroy Satan’s arguments “and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
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