Unleash your inner Samaritan

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday this week, it might be a good time to take stock of the world and our place in it. As bombs and rockets explode on battlefields around the globe, we can take comfort in our relative security at home even as U.S. troops remain in the danger zone in Afghanistan. The bitterness and rancor from the election just past is starting to recede in most quarters, though there are some for whom the fear and loathing for the other side will remain, although hopefully we won’t have to hear it so much anymore.

But the rest of us, as we dutifully go about our daily routines, should consider those around us. From the insular bubble of our cars where we skirt road rage with a blast of our horns to the non-verbal realm of text communication to averting our eyes from the unpleasant lives of our fellow citizens, we need a reality check. Those things that bind us together as a people are more powerful than those that keep us apart – and we need to start acting like it.

Take Tommy Frank, as an example, who after a career spanning over five decades with Conn’s, now among many other volunteer endeavors in his retirement, serves on several prison ministries. Frank says of his work, “The prison ministry is important because it gives people hope. The Bible says, ‘I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7).’ In the prison ministry, you get to touch the lives of people who may not have had an opportunity to learn about faith. What we bring them is hope – the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ.”

These acts of kindness by Tommy Frank and wife Pat are a celebration of what Thanksgiving is all about, and the Franks give of their time and love selflessly.

To take that principle and embrace it in our lives is a challenge every single day that begins with each of us. There is ample historical precedent for acts of kindness reflected in the teachings of many of the world’s religions. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus describes a traveler on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho who is beaten, robbed and left for dead. After being ignored by his fellow countrymen, a Samaritan comes by and is moved with compassion, and bounds up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

The concept is not unique to Christianity but reflects a basic humanity to which all should aspire, regardless of their religious views or lack thereof. The Good Samaritan is symbolic of that which is good in all of us and of the acts of kindness that make the world a better place.

Do yourself a favor and unleash your own inner Good Samaritan.