Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Good Samaritan?

It seems we have a 'good Samaritan' in our family.  One who simply cannot walk past injustice.  A courageous boy who has to help others, despite any dangers to himself.  A young man who, seeing the world in black and white, launches himself passionately to rescue others.

All of this is to be nurtured and celebrated.  In fact, it's exciting to know that if we do support him and help him to shape his passion for justice then he can, in his own way, be a part of the fight against injustice across the world.  Who knows what this could lead to?  I don't.

But at the moment he is 10 years old and the injustices that are in front of him are the ones on the playground.  Always impulsive, when he sees someone being hurt he intervenes.  And he intervenes physically.  He hasn't developed mentally enough yet to know that it's not always a good idea to throw someone to the ground at school but he's certainly strong enough to hurt them.  In that split-second moment of anger at the injustice in front of him, he forgets about the fact that he might get into trouble with the teachers and he doesn't care about the beating he might get from the other children.  He just throws himself in to rescue the 'victim'.

Then he finds himself in a detention for fighting, and rightly so.  Consequences are important.

And so we find ourselves walking this difficult line of encouraging his inbuilt passion for justice but helping him to find other ways of outworking it.  Of course its not acceptable for him to punch someone simply because they punched someone else.  But in his black and white world of retribution and vengeance, he is only doing the right thing.

I wonder about the good Samaritan in the story Jesus told.  This was a man who also couldn't walk past, unlike the Pharisees.  He helped someone he was supposed to hate.  Like our boy, he put aside any thoughts of danger to himself and he went out of his way to save this man's life.  But I wonder what he would have done if he'd come across the man a few hours earlier, when he was being beaten almost to death by the robbers.  Would this Samaritan man have risked his life to save someone else?  Of course, it's only a story and we don't know the answer to this hypothetical question but I do know that some people are made to fight injustice.  They can't look away.  And our boy is one of them.

So we have no choice but to continue shaping and whittling away at this boy, one of our three arrows.  Sometimes we have no idea what to do or say that will help him to learn to use his passions for good.  We will not force him to squash them down or hide them away.  We will encourage him to be the young man he was made to be.  As parents, this is our job and not to be delegated to anyone else.  But it's not an easy tightrope for us to walk across and mistakes, of which there will be plenty,   can have scary consequences.

We know this boy is most definitely a challenge but, mercifully, we love a challenge and we love him.

No comments: