I've Fallen And There Is No One To Help Me Up!
I ran across a funny yet thought-provoking piece that went something like this:
It seems that a man fell into a pit and couldn’t get himself out.
A subjective person came along and said, “I feel for you down
An objective person walked by and said, “It’s logical that someone would fall down there.”
A Pharisee said, “Only bad people fall into pits.”A mathematician calculated how deep the pit was.
A news reporter wanted the exclusive story on the pit.
An IRS agent asked if he was paying taxes on the pit.
A self-pitying person said, “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit.”
A psychologist noted, “Your mother and father are to blame for your being in that pit.”
A self-esteem therapist said, “Believe in yourself, and you can get out of that pit.”
An optimist said, “Things could be worse.”
A pessimist claimed, “Things will get worse.”
As funny as this maybe it strikes a chord which resonates with every Catholic with a compassionate heart. From the Scriptures we learn that how we treat other people is a huge reflection of what kind of Catholics we are.
Treating Everyone as a Real Person!
“Blessed is he that understandeth concerning the needy and the poor: the Lord will deliver him in the evil day. ”—Psalm 40:2/41:1.
What this passage advocates is neither the entitlement society nor the redistribution of wealth. It does not mean that we should pay everybody’s rent.
What it does say is that we should ‘understand’ the poor. “Understandeth” here means “to regard with respect.” If you understand someone in the sense of this verse, you treat him as a person of worth. You do not dismiss him as useless simply because of the small net worth of his estate. When you ‘understand’ people like this, you give them respect as people for whom Christ died just as much as you would respect them if they had great wealth.
If they are in a pit, they are worth saving. They are worth the care of all of us and whatever it may cost to rescue them.
Go the Second Mile!
“And whosoever will force thee one mile, go with him other two,”—Matthew 5:41
Do more than is expected. Show yourself to be generous. Be a giver without thought of taking.
Be a Great Forgiver!
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of
meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”—Galatians 6:1.
So someone hurt you. He said unkind things. He tarnished your name. But then he was convicted of what he did. He admitted his wrongdoing; he asked for forgiveness and to be restored to a relationship. What are you going to do now? Are you a big enough Catholic to forgive and receive him back? Or are you like the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son? If you can’t forgive, who now is fallen away and not right with God?
Good Catholics must be great forgivers. Whatever ugly things happened, it is now over and done. Forgiveness has let it die. By the mercy and grace of God, it is buried. By the grace of God you can forgive it.
So don’t put it off. Forgive! Get over it! And press on!
Do What You Can When and Where You Can!
“And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”—Matthew 10:42.
“A cup of cold water” may not seem like much, but it may be exactly what is needed and truly could be all that is needed. It may be that “a cup of cold water” is all you can afford. You may have a short supply yourself, but a drink of water is almost always a gift any of us could give. You may not have a million dollars to give; but showing respect, going the extra mile and giving forgiveness are three things we all can do and will do when we are right with God.
So when we see the need of others, we do what we can, as we
can, where we can, while we can.
Don’t Be the Cause of Offense!
“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”—Matthew 18:7
Trouble! Conflict! Offenses! Such trauma has increased rapidly in our world. Even in Catholic circles there are issues, and there are offenses. But let’s take a lesson from the wisdom of Matthew 18. If there has to be an offense, let someone else create it. As Catholics, you and I should be very careful that we do not blunder our way into next week creating offenses which wound others or cause them to stumble.
Take Your Cue From the Good Samaritan!
You know the story (Luke 10:30–37). A man from Jerusalem was robbed and beaten as he traveled to Jericho. Others just passed him by; but the Good Samaritan ministered to him, took him to safety, got him medical attention, and paid the bill for all of it. As a result, Jesus said to us, “Go, and do thou in like manner.” (vs. 37). Others may turn away coldly and selfishly, but Jesus would have us step up to the plate and render to others as He would do. Tragically, there are times when the man in the pit will cry out, “I’ve fallen and they won’t let me up!” You and I should not be a party to that situation.
Go After Anybody and Everybody!
“And the servant returning, told these things to his lord. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant: Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the feeble, and the blind, and the lame. ”—Luke 14:21.
It seems quite clear to me that the sense of Scripture is that we should target anybody and everybody. It is sad when seasoned Catholics take the bait and bite the hook that has been dangled before them and go after just a preferred group or a popular cause in that day and time. What I would call the charity fad or the cause that is the fad of the day. When being a servant to others we ought to pursue the folks on Main Street as well as those in the back alley. If we do as we should, we will be helping all demographics. We will be helping anybody and everybody! We go after them all!
So the point to be made is this. People do fall into the pit. At all hours of the day, in all kinds of ways, the young and the old get ensnared; and they fall into traps from which they cannot get themselves out of. Let’s don’t try to be psychiatrists or social workers! Let’s step up and do the Lord’s bidding. The man who fell into the pit needs Christ! We know where to point them! We have the truth of Christ and His Church that provides a roadmap for getting out of the pit!
Yes there is a need for a social work in the lives of people. But first and foremost is the need of the heart. The need to be changed from within. Let us not forget to meet that need first. A plate full of food will not save a person from Hell. But the Gospel can change their lives! A glass of water will take away a person's thirst for a the moment. But Jesus Christ the Living water can quench for eternity a thirst that the soul has. But we must step out and help the fallen!