The Other Side

“. . . on the other side.”
“It so happened that a priest was going down that road; but when he saw the man, he walked on by on the other side.” (Luke 10:31)
I know it’s a strange photo, but allow me to explain.  Toward the end of last week I began to feel pretty sick.  I reached my limit late Sunday night and gave into my wife’s pleas to take me to the hospital emergency room.  (I wound up having my gall bladder removed Monday afternoon and am doing just fine).  As she wheeled me into the hospital room and I stared at the bed, it hit me how many folks I’d visited in emergency and hospital rooms since I’d last been a patient thirty years ago.  I sat in the wheel chair for a few minutes, putting off climbing onto the bed.  I was having difficulty seeing myself as a patient instead of one coming to visit a patient.  It’s an entirely different experience being on the other side – in this case, the patient side.

When Jesus told the story about the Good Samaritan he set it up by first describing those who failed to minster to the beaten traveler and crossed to the other side of the road so they wouldn’t encounter him.  Without a sense of what it was like to be on the traveler’s side of the road – to be in his shoes, there was little hope for their helping.  I guess this journey for me is just a reminder of how important it is when we encounter others in need that we resist the desire to cross to the other side.  In fact, if we are truly to help it means we need to focus on what it’s like to live on their side – in their shoes.  I know I’ve probably said all this before, but this was for me a very visceral reminder.  Maybe we all need a good reminder from time to time of what it’s like to be on the other side.  I pray that God will always help me to remember what it’s like on the other side.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on May 8, 2013.

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