Before I begin sharing about the incredible lesson I learned from living as the Good Samaritan this week, I need to share something about myself: If I receive criticism, directly or implied, I will usually hurt for days as I process through the pain of not being ‘good enough’. Each of us needs course corrections and guidance. I struggle with receiving such corrections, no matter how kindly given.
This last month, I’ve been heavily involved in a community outreach project. The person who bore responsibility for running our area is a remarkable woman. She is polished, confident, and very direct.
Working closely together gave me the opportunity to learn from her and to see how she handles set-backs. It also gave her the opportunity to see where I needed course corrections, which she gave in a very direct, no-nonsense fashion. It hurt.
As I walked out of her office the first day, my heart hurt at the candid criticisms leveled my way. The Spirit whispered to my heart. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritan cares for the injured man, takes him to an inn to be cared for, and goes on his way. The Samaritan does not wait for the man to recover so as to receive gratitude. He sees a need, serves, and moves forward with what he needs to do.
This is what I knew I must do in this situation. Mine was not to complain within my heart at the method of communication, mine was to do. Mine was not to find fault with a perceived lack of compassion and appreciation, mine was to do. So I did. I served wherever I could. In any way that I could lighten this woman’s load, I did.
When I grabbed myself a water bottle, I grabbed two and left one on the corner of her desk. When she needed a doorstop, I ran to 3 separate buildings to find her one. When her pen ran dry as she scribbled notes, I silently handed her mine. Wherever and however I could lighten her load, I tried to do so.
Did she snip at me while communicating a need? I focused on what needed to be taken care of, rather than the method of communication.
As I did so, I discovered a wonderful, incredible gift! The pain of being criticized was gone. Absolutely gone! It was replaced by a deep and abiding love and affection for this woman. I saw the weight of her responsibilities and my heart ached for all that she was sacrificing for this project and all that she needed to do.
She did not express any gratitude for my extra efforts. In fact, in the highly stressful situations, she was often even more blunt in her style of communication with me. But it didn’t matter! I was so focused on serving that my mind had no room for taking offense! I felt compassion for the stress she was under.
Charity allowed me to overcome a weakness I have struggled with my entire life! By focusing on serving and loving, I had no room for Satan to attack my heart and mind with thoughts of not being good enough or with thoughts that someone was unfairly being unkind! What a relief! What a wonderful gift from my Heavenly Father!
I learned that when I am so busy loving and serving someone, I have no room in my heart for their actions to hurt me! Instead, greater empathy and compassion came into my heart the more I focused on lightening her burdens.
We control which direction our thoughts take. We control how we perceive others and situations. By taking control of my thoughts, and focusing on serving rather than allowing hurt to reign, I was able to accomplish more and with more composure than I have ever done before. I amazed myself in many situations that before would have caused me tears of anguish. Instead, I could stand tall, enveloped in a spirit of love and compassion. It was empowering and absolutely amazing.
By following the example of the Good Samaritan by simply serving wherever there was a need, with no thought to myself, I learned to act with charity. Not the charity that is feeding the hungry or giving shelter to the homeless. Charity that is patient with someone’s less-than-stellar moments. Charity that causes me to be sympathetic and forgiving when, before, I would have taken offense.
The Good Samaritan wasn’t concerned with WHO was right, he was concerned with DOING right. This week, I learned the power that comes from focusing on doing right. The power to overcome hurt. The power to love.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.