Have you heard this parable?
I can picture it.
I man bruised and beaten and bleeding. Two separate "religious" men walk by. One regular guy shows compassion and stops to help. He goes above and beyond. He stops his own journey and spends his own money to care for him.
I've heard the story many times. Many. I never understood how anyone could just walk by a person in that much need. I never tried to see it from their point of view. They were wrong. How could they?!?
Lately though, I get it. I hate that I get it.
These were good men. A priest. A Levite. Think about your pastor. The demands on his time. Everyone coming to him with problems. Always taking care of his flock. Being called out from his bed and away from his family. Spending more time, sometimes, with the members of his church than his own children.
I see him walking down that road. He's been gone since sunrise and he just wants to go home to eat supper and tuck his kids in bed. He sees the man laying there... half dead. Maybe he pretends that the guy is dead. Maybe he has pity on him, but is so tired he can barely lift his own feet much less the body of a beaten man. So, he walks past. Not because he doesn't care. He does. He just can't. He can't anymore. He's been caring for so many that he's done. He. is. spent.
Matt and I were doing a study book last night called "Created to Connect" that was mailed to us just last week from Show Hope. Chapter 2 has you read this parable and at the end asks, "Thinking in terms of the Parable of the Good Samaritan and taking into account your child's history (both what you know and what you don't), in what ways is your child "injured and bleeding" on the side of the road - emotionally, physically, relationally? In light of this, what does Jesus' command to "go and do likewise" mean for you as the parent of this child?"
Ouch. Normally when I type "but God" it is because I know God is good and He has got this. Today, my "but God" is different.
I know he is hurting. I know he has injuries that are emotional that cause him to be hard to parent. I've been nice. I've shown compassion. I've neglected time with the kids that are behaving well to reassure him that my correcting him is out of love. None of my "connecting" has connected and none of my "correcting" seems to correct. I'm spent. I know what you've commanded, but, God, please don't make me right now. I can't. I want to walk by. Just this once.
Parenting is hard work. Parenting a child that is scarred and whose past isn't clear and who won't share with you or talk to you feels impossible. Thankfully, I know anything is possible with God.
So, today, I will attempt to not walk past. And if I do walk past, I will force myself stop. I will turn back. I will try to find those wounds hidden away under his layers and clean them. I will bandage him with hugs. I will care for the "half dead" boy as I pray for God to fill me up with His strength and His love and His compassion because I don't have any left.