“Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’” (Luke 10:34-35 NLT)
To love your neighbor as yourself, you must be willing to take risks. Many times, the one thing that keeps us from doing for others is our own fears. Fear makes us unkind. The cruelest people are the most fearful people. Just imagine the fears the Good Samaritan could have had — they were all legitimate.
He could have said, “What if I go over and help this guy, but the robbers are still here? They’ll rob me, too, and take my clothes, my donkey, my riches.”
He could have said, “What if I go over and help this guy, and it’s a trap? He jumps up, beats me up, and takes all my possessions and leaves me by the side of the road?” or “What if he rejects my help?” (Jews and Samaritans were divided by race, religion, and politics) or “What if I get blamed for it?”
Today we might say, “What if he sues me?” or “What if I don’t know what to do?” or “What if I don’t know what to say?”
There’s one big fear we don’t like to talk about, but I need to mention it. We often don’t want to get involved in other people’s pain and brokenness because it reminds us of our own pain and brokenness. We have the pain in our lives pushed down, and we want to keep a lid on it.
That’s why we need to let God grow his love in us, so that we can love others the way God loves us. The Bible says, “There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear” (1 John 4:18a TEV).
What are the things you fear that may be keeping you from loving other people? How did those fears start? Take those fears to God and ask him to help you trust him: “Because GOD will be right there with you; he'll keep you safe and sound” (Proverbs 3:26b MSG).
Watch a short video sample from Pastor Rick on the importance of love. Saddleback Resources offers 40 Days of Love, a six-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that searches the Scripture for what love is, the characteristics of love, and how our relationships can be transformed by love.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.