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Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. Proverbs 3:27

help1I have a friend who has been a nurse for over 30 years. It’s always been interesting to sit and talk with him about his work. He’s seen a lot of things few of us would hope to see. He has one of the most compassionate hearts I think I’ve even seen. Soft-spoken, understanding, kind and respectful are all words I would use to describe Ben (not his real name).

Although been would rarely talk about individual patients or their situations, he’d tell about general situations that would tug at his heart. One of these was a life-changer. Ben had always considered himself to be non-judgmental towards other people but one shift taught him a valuable lesson about who he really was.

A patient had been brought up from ER and placed in his ward. Two police officers were stationed outside his room. When he inquired about the situation he found out that the patient assigned to him was the drunk driver in a fatal collision that took the lives of a young mom and two children. It was a sad story indeed, and one that is played out hundreds, if not thousands, of times every day. The drunk driver survived, the innocent did not.

As his shift progressed he knew it was time to go in and check on ‘the patient in #302’ but he kept putting it off. Finally, he could put it off no longer. Begrudgingly, he entered the darkened room to check on his patient. He was surprised to see a small dark form in the recliner beside the bed. As his eyes adjusted to the light he could tell it was a young girl. He asked the officer standing guard about her and found out she was the man’s only daughter. She’d been there since he was admitted and refused to leave for even a minute. Her mother had just died of cancer the week before.

My friend Ben removed himself and found an empty room where he could weep for a few minutes and regain his composure. His ‘hatred’ of the ‘drunk’ changed markedly when he realized the loss this man must have felt and the pain the little girl in the recliner felt. Why had he not checked on him sooner? If he had he could have perhaps offered some comfort to the little girl.

Proverbs 3:27 is one of the hard sayings of the Bible. On the surface it looks easy enough. If you have the means to help, help those who deserve it. Then the question comes. Who deserves it? In our humanness we can answer that question. If we look at others the way God looks at us, none of us deserve any help at all. But when we look at others the way God looks at us through the lens of Jesus’ love, then all of us are on equal footing. The man making a stupid decision to drive drunk is no better or worse than the self-righteous nurse refusing to care for him.

Who do you know that needs your help today? Perhaps just a prayer, a smile or a helping hand is all that is needed to show the love of Jesus. The key to this verse is that ‘when it’s in your power’ to help, help is required not optional.

PRAYER: Father God, every day we are surrounded by people in need of our help in various ways. When we encounter them give us the wisdom and strength to help them to the best of our ability regardless of their circumstance. In Jesus name, Amen.

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