Love Your Hurt Self

Posted: December 28, 2019 in helping
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Life is full of simple choices — in two directions.

Today I drove to pick up my wife after her walk to Sprouts netted too many veggies for her to carry home. She needed that rescue. I was glad to do this.

But on the way out of the garage I backed over a piece of our stored gazebo that had fallen out of it’s box and under my tire. Really? Out of the box and under the back tire? Ruined it! But instead of beating myself up about this, upon arriving back home I immediately called the company that made the patio cover and ordered a new part ($5.99). I consider the whole thing a success. By taking care of this, by protecting my emotions, I didn’t have to regret ruining a $200 piece of equipment.

Helps, rescues — they run in two directions, towards others and towards ourselves. We are to be good Samaritans to others— and also to ourselves.

When we read the story of the good Samaritan we are tempted to come at it in a monolithic way. We interpret the narrative so that we are always the Good Samaritan.

And while of course this is valid, and we do well to let the text implicate us and convict us to care for others, this is not a complete reading of the text. In truth we are both the good Samaritan and the one robbed, beaten and naked along the road.

This is a more expanded but still accurate view of the text. It provides a way to view our wounded selves. Consider this.

“When the Samaritan found one who was robbed and beaten and naked along the road the text says,“He [the Samaritan] went to him [the wounded one] and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”

Magnanimous! Just! Above and beyond. We must not neglect the wounded among us.

And yet the truth is that sometime that naked one is us. Life robs us all! Life beats up on us all. We all make mistakes. Life leaves all along the road in need of help at some point.

Today that was true of me. I was in pain all day from several old injuries. So I lovingly medicating myself. I lay down. I distracted myself cleaning and gardening.

When we are the beaten up, we must, to follow the teaching of Jesus, help ourselves. We must carry ourselves to those who can help us. Discouraged perhaps we need to make a phone call to a friend. Hurting we may need to take our medicine. Hurting we may need to do some stretches.

We must at times carry ourselves to ourselves to experience the oil and wine of our own kindnesses. We must be the innkeeper we pay to care for our very selves. We must be willing to pay for help for ourselves, perhaps for counseling, perhaps medical treatment, perhaps a gym membership, perhaps good food, perhaps a new book to inspire us.

It is not enough to be the hero of the text, the excellent Samaritan. It is not accurate that we always will be. At times we are at the hurt one.

When this is the case, do this. Love your hurt self. See yourself and have compassion.

To do this well ultimately we must carry ourselves to God himself and present our wounds and our soul’s neediness to him. To do this is to see ourselves accurately, to not look away from our own nakedness and weakness.

Thus evening my wife talked me into going out to dinner. I needed this. I needed her to feed me with a time out with good food. I let myself be taken care of.

Interesting, the day began with me helping her, and that it ended with her helping me.

“Go and do likewise,” said Jesus.

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