day 16: Pain Points: A Samaritan @ Work, part 2

This is the second of a three part entry learning from a session I attended given by Dr. John Hull about the Good Samaritan story (found in Luke 10:25-37). What I am attempting to do is take this lesson and put it to work at work.

Yesterday, I pointed out the importance of being able to face reality and showing compassion with a fellow co-worker who has been beaten down. In order to face that reality, we must be able to recognize when someone else is hurting and then reach into their hurt or pain and find a way to touch them at the point that can help them become better. Words like pain and hurt are not ones that are often heard in the workplace unless someone has suffered a physical injury. However, I would say that the workplace is one of the most dangerous battlefields for the attack and potential destruction of someones ego, pride and self-worth, which are pains and hurts that can far surpass physical issues. So, to be a Good Samaritan at work before we can act, we need to be able to recognize and identify when someone is in pain. This is not hard if we slow down for a moment and listen and watch those around us, putting ourselves aside for a moment. There are tell-tale signs. Some are subtle. You can see it in someones energy level, how fast they are to answer or slow to give a response, how they react to questioning or challenging, how they respond or don’t respond to the opportunity to take on more, the willingness or lack of willingness to present to others their ideas, and the list can go on and on. Other signs are more visible. You can see open frustration, throwing in the towel, or using words that are either words of defeat and resignation or words that are defensive and protective. Regardless of the signs, it will be apparent that there is pain and hurt under the surface. And as those who want to follow the lesson of the Good Samaritan what are we to do? The Good Samaritan, when he did his act of kindness was not afraid to reach with his bare hands and pick up the dirty and bloody man from the side of the road. He most likely dirtied his own clothes as he propped us and helped the broken man walk back into town. Fortunately for most of us we don’t have real blood at work, but figuratively it can feel the same. For us to really reach down and help someone else we have to be willing to dirty ourselves and be willing to get some of that blood on our own hands. It means that we may need to stand up for someone else, or take on a part of their work for them for a time frame for them to dig out of the hole they are in. It means getting dirty and taking a risk for a fellow co-worker. It means reaching into their pain and hurt and putting ourselves on the back burner. It means that the other person can feel and know that you are saying to them, “it is not about me, it is about you”. If we can dig deep within ourselves and find a way to make our work about others and not always about ourselves and we are willing to reach to others to help them through their struggles, regardless of the dirt we may have to take on ourselves to do so, then we can be the Good Samaritan at work and be more purposed in the work that we do.

Reference: Luke 10:25-37 (New Living Testament)