God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. John 3:16
Jesus tells a story about a Samaritan he came upon, a man beaten and lying in a ditch, as he traveled down a road. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.
It is more important, more important than anything, to recognize who the Samaritan is here. This Eagle Scout is a hated foreigner, but Jesus dignifies him with hero status. Jesus gives us a triple scoop of dignity here drowned in compassion. Again, notice the progression: “he saw” and then “he took pity.” He transfers over from his own life what was lost by the man who was robbed, beaten, and left for dead.
He replaces his own position on the donkey with that of the hurt man. He gives away his own dignity in order to restore the dignity of another.
The actions speak louder and clearer than any possible words. The Samaritan truly jumped inside the hurting man’s skin and didn’t allow himself to be at peace until he’d restored peace for him. That is the best working definition of compassion one can find and the best picture of restoring dignity—by divesting yourself of your own.
Sound familiar? The ability to demonstrate Christlike compassion is intimately tethered to our own willingness to be undignified. The question to ask myself is: How undignified am I willing to be in order to meet the needs of others?
Father, thank you for showing me how you did the very same thing for me. You set aside your dignity and you suffered for me. You are amazing.