Burying the Wounded

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For most people, the idea of burying someone who is wounded, but still alive, would be repulsive. However, it is a representation of who some people believe should be cared for and tended to and who they are willing to help through tough times. The origin of the metaphor is unclear but there are documented cases where literal burying of wounded people has occurred. Maoists in Nepal have been known to practice the burying of wounded people while still alive. We should certainly take to heart the parallel in how we treat others who are hurting. It could be physical, emotional, financial, or whatever.

Jesus was often angry with the religious people around him for their superior attitude and for not having compassion for people they didn’t understand (Matthew 3:4-5). They were hard- hearted. The definition of the word "hardness" can also be "stupidity or callousness," according to Strong’s Concordance. Are we stupid or calloused in regard to other people? It was the attitude the religious people had towards other people for which Jesus was angry. They could have chosen differently, but they refused.

Jesus commands us to preach the Gospel and to heal people (Luke 9:2). Is all healing physical? What if people don’t have any physical wounds? What if their needs are emotional and the wounds are on the inside? Are we "stupid and calloused" or are we "moved with compassion"?

In the scribes’ and Pharisees’ eyes there were no "good Samaritans." In their own law they were not even expected to help certain classes or kinds of people. Samaritans were spelled out as part of this category. Jesus himself had been called a "Samaritan" and told he was demon possessed. Why did they call Jesus a "Samaritan"? The scribes and Pharisees were considered "good people" and they considered themselves to be "good people." They were supposed to set the example in the way they lived, and intercede for the people in the Temple. Jesus saw the hypocrisy of their traditions and the laws they had added to God’s word. Ezekiel said this: "The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them" (Ezekiel 34:4).

When Jesus asked the lawyer which of the three was the wounded man’s neighbor, the lawyer couldn’t bear to say "the Samaritan." Instead the lawyer answered Jesus: "He who showed mercy on him." The lawyer knew the intent of the law is mercy. He was caught in his own trap. Jesus showed the hypocrisy in how they treated others.

We should use wisdom in how we help people while thinking twice before turning our backs on someone we think is undeserving. That could be equivalent to burying the wounded or digging a hole, throwing dirt on top of them, and walking away. Jesus understood what it was like to be left for dead and abandoned by everyone. "Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none" (Psalm 69:20).

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Image Credits: Joel Montes de Oca