You know someone who is being abused.
She said it was a bike accident. She was not paying attention to where she was going and fell off her bike. But the welts were not consistent with a fall.
She pulled her sleeve down to cover the cluster of five quarter-sized bruises. Sheepishly she changed the subject to divert her parents’ concern away from the injuries.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Did you know that February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness month?
When we think of February, we usually think of Valentine’s Day, not teen dating violence. There is nothing warm and fuzzy about that topic. We would much rather talk about pink hearts and boxes of chocolate.
Teen dating violence is real; abuse is real. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “1 in 10 teens reported being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once in the 12 months before the survey.”
But it’s not just teens.
Violence and abuse are happening across all walks of life: rich or poor, male or female, young or old, believer or non-believer. The shocking reality is that dating violence and abuse are equal opportunity destroyers and go against everything that Jesus preached.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
We can choose to be the priest or the Levite, or we can choose Samaritan Love. We can refuse to let someone rob another of the right to fell safe and to be loved the way Jesus intended. The problem is that many people don’t know what they can do to help.
Taken from LoveIsRespect.org, here are the warning signs of abuse and resources on how you can you can give Samaritan Love.
Not sure if someone is in trouble? You might not see dramatic warning signs like black eyes and broken bones, so how can you tell for sure? For one thing, listen to your instincts. You probably wouldn’t be worried without good reason.
Here are some signs to look for that might mean someone you know is in trouble and needs help.
- You notice their partner calls them names or puts them down in front of other people.
- If they talk to other people, their partner gets extremely jealous.
- They apologize for their partner’s behavior and make excuses for it.
- They frequently cancel plans at the last minute for reasons that sound untrue.
- Their partner is always checking up, calling or texting and demanding to know who they’re with and where they’ve been.
- You’ve seen fights escalate to breaking or hitting things.
- They’re constantly worried about upsetting their partner or making them angry.
- They give up things they used to enjoy such as spending time with friends or other activities.
- Their weight, appearance or grades have changed dramatically. These could be signs of depression, which could indicate abuse.
- They have injuries they can’t explain or the explanations they give don’t make sense.
Thank you, Jesus, that we have the model for Samaritan Love and the resources to help those in need. We know you do not want us to cross on the other side and ignore the abuse that is happening all around us. Lord, give us the courage to show Samaritan Love and guide someone to the help he or she might need. In His Holy Name, Amen.
Be the one to step up and show Samaritan Love – Start here: