I was at a work lunch a while back at a local restaurant when an elderly gentleman and his grandson came in and sat down at the table beside us. After discussing the items on the menu, both men decided to eat from the serve yourself option offered by the restaurant.
The grandson was a well-mannered young man, and he offered to get his grandfather’s food for him. The grandfather kindly refused the grandson’s offer and used his cane to help lift himself from his chair to go select his own food.
Within five minutes, the grandfather made his way back to within three steps of the table, cane in one hand and a tray of food in the other. He then tripped on a piece of wooden molding that was attached to the bottom of a seating booth and, within a few seconds, he was lying on the floor.
There was nothing those of us around him could do to keep him from falling. But, within seconds, six of us were on our feet, offering our assistance. It was a beautiful thing to witness. Among the six people was a nurse. She asked the gentleman some questions. It turned out being the perfect fall. He walked away with no bruises or broken bones. We were all relieved.
But let’s back up for a second.
The reality is ... the fall was the elderly gentleman’s fault. As I explained, his grandson had offered to get his food for him. In his physical state, the gentleman was in a little too much of a hurry. He wasn’t paying great attention. The carpet and the booth woodwork (the things that helped cause the fall) were obvious. And things he should’ve taken into consideration, right?
So, what if we had gathered around him and discussed his fall using this reasoning? “To be honest, you are kind of selfish! You interrupted our lunch.” “Do you really deserve to be picked up?” “If we help him up, he really won’t learn his lesson!” Did we do that? Of course not!
But don’t we do that within our Christian community with other Christians who fall? “It’s her own fault. She knew better. We tried to warn you, but you didn’t listen!”
How people fell to where they are isn’t what’s important. What is important is for them to know that no matter how they got where they are, they are loved. They will have people to surround them and help them stand again!
Isn’t that what a follower of Jesus should do?
Luke 10, “A Samaritan … saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable … Jesus said, ‘Go and do the same.’”
We can reason as to why someone is where they are, or we can do as Jesus does, and reach down and offer a hand to those who have fallen.