Pastor Marv Fogleman, Ph.D

What A Trip This Was….In less than 20 miles the road drops 3600’.  This was a notoriously dangerous road, it was rocky, it was narrow, it was precarious.  In the 5th Century, Jerome called it the Bloody Way.

And Jesus Said, “a certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho”. The first person in our cast of characters was a certain man.  He was reckless and foolhardy.  It was almost as if he was looking for danger. I find many people thrive on problems.  They usually go from one problem to another problem. They seem to need their problem and we don’t realize this until we try to solve their problems for them.  These dear ones confuse danger and chaos with excitement.  Without danger, without upheaval, without confusion, they feel lifeless, empty, dead.  Translated these reckless people would rather have their problems because they know that their neediness will arouse your care and interest.

The second person in our cast of characters is a priest.  If he touched a dead man he would be unclean for 7 days, in other words, he would disqualify himself from serving in the temple.  The preacher would be out of a job so he surrendered to the claims of ceremony rather than to the claims of charity.

The third person in our cast of characters is a Levite.  Perhaps, he didn’t stop because he thought that this might be a setup, a trap.  Perhaps the robbers were waiting for him.  He was not willing to take a risk by putting himself in harm’s way.

The fourth person in our cast of characters is a Samaritan.  Someone who was no stranger to rejection and mistreatment.  He was able to enter into the pain of another with empathy and compassion.  The Samaritan was not frightened by the vulnerability of this wounded man.  Does seeing someone hurting, push you away?  Do you reject in other people what you reject in yourself?  You have to feel comfortable in the presence of hurting people.  to minister to hurting people.  If you can’t embrace your own pain, you will be unable to embrace the pain or another. The Bible tells us “but a Samaritan who was on a journey came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion”.

Would you believe that there is a healthy compassion and an unhealthy compassion?  Love can heal but love also can hurt.  Love can be so poorly packaged that when we have sold everything to buy it, we cry in finding all the substance is gone and nothing but the tinsel and the ribbon.  Love ought to encourage growth not decay.  Love ought to give the loved one what they need, not give us what we need.  We frequently distort the meaning of care.  There is a difference between caring and taking care of someone. There are times when the most caring thing that you can do is not take care of someone.  When we assume the responsibility for another’s happiness, we put ourselves in the place of God.

Are you a caretaker? Are you a rescuer? Do you say yes when you should say no?  Do you meet other people’s needs without being asked? Are you always giving more in the relationship than you are receiving? Do you pay for the consequences of others’ foolish choices?  Are you reluctant to ask for what you need?  Are you angry because you give too much but are unable to see if the relationship would last without your overinvolvement?  Would you rather be angry than experience abandonment? Do you focus on other peoples’ pain and are not able to describe your own pain?  Do you feel more spiritual helping others than looking at your own hurts?  Do you continue to give too much in order to cover up the pain of not receiving enough?

Some of you are experiencing “Love That Hurts” You are in the midst of compassion fatigue.  You give and give and give and give again but your love doesn’t produce confidence and reassurance in your heart. You keep paying the price of admission but never feel as if you are accepted and appreciated.  And the price of love keeps escalating.  You are afraid to say enough is enough and test the relationship to see if it is reciprocal.  Love should not hurt.  If you are in a relationship that creates pain, you need to decide how to change the rules.  No one should be threatened, no one should be demeaned, no one should be used, no one should be pushed and shoved.

I CORINTHIANS 13: 4 - 6 (NASB)  Tells us that love is patient, love is kind, love does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own.  

None of us can love perfectly, but love that keeps hurting is not God’s kind of love. Love opens eyes, love enables the eyes to see what has been there all along but was overlooked in haste and indifference.  Love corrects astigmatism so that what was distorted in selfishness is not perceived accurately and appreciably. Love cures short-sightedness so that the blur of the distant other is now in wondrous focus.  Love cures farsightedness so that opportunities for intimacy are no longer blurred threats but rather blessed invitations.

Love looks at the one who had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, no beauty that we should desire him.  We love him because we can’t help ourselves.  Yes, he commands us to love him but he also empowers us to love him.  Whether we can see him, whether we hear him, whether we can feel him, we choose to love Him.  The words you shall Love the Lord your God becomes in the end less a command than a promise.  God is seeking you today.  “Come unto me all you that are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.  God’s love doesn’t hurt.  God’s love heals, soothes, and restores.

Luke 10: VERSE 34-35 (NASB),"and come to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his best, and brought him to an inn and took care of him”. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, “whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you”.

The longing to be loved is the same all over the world.  All of us would love to experience this kind of care from an expected source.  Rejection hurts. Hate destroys, Love builds.

Are you in a relationship that destroys or builds?  Love is when the other person’s needs become just as important as yours.  Not more important, no less important, but just as important.  The home has to be a safe place.  A place where we can show our need and not be punished for it.  Is your loved one a safe person for you?

But I love him, I love her. Love was never meant to be the foundation of marriage.  The true foundation is shared values.  Two people who are committed to Jesus and the biblical directives of family life have the best footing for a long-lasting marriage.  Love is fickle.  Love can be immature.  Love can be self-serving. Thomas Merton, in his book No Man is an Island wrote these words,

“selfish love often appears to be unselfish, because it is willing to make any concession to the beloved in order to keep him a prisoner”.

By-Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island is a collection of 16 essays in which Thomas Merton plumbs aspects of human spirituality.

The ore-marital dance is not a good indication of the prospects of a marriage.  People tend to put their best foot forward, people tend to guard their tongue and their reactions.  But know this, the marital dance is never better than the pre-marital dance.  When there are problems and conflicts during courtship, these could be indicators of future storms.  My heart goes out to the individual who craves a relationship so much that he or she is willing to be blind to the red flags that wave.  Every red flag is a warning sign that trouble is on the way. Courtship and engagement should be a time of working out the rough spots and seeing if you have the skill in solving issues together.

Luke 10: VERSE 36 - 37 (NASB) “Which of these three (the priest, the levite, the samaritan) do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robber’s hands?  And; he said, "The one showed mercy toward him”.  Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same“.

Will you commit yourself to healthy compassion?  Will you commit yourself to love that builds and not destroys?  Will you commit yourself to love that builds and not destroys?  Will  you commit yourself to love that heals and not to love that hurts?

Will you say no to needy and greedy friendships?  Will you say no to sticky and clinging relationships? Will you say no to exploitative and parasitic connections?

Instead, Say yes! to Christ and His Love plan for your life.  Say yes! to being committed to Christ and his provision for you so that no one else takes the place of Him in your life. Say yes! to the realization that God will never leave you or forsake you and His presence will guide you and feed you through any storm.

I’m Praying for you!

Our Father and our God, thank you for your promise that you would be close to the brokenhearted and those whose spirit has been crushed.  We lift up our broken hearts and crushed spirits.  We know that you care about each heartache.  We know that when we weep, You weep with us.  We know that You will bring us comfort and direction in our darkest hours.  So we rejoice in Your plans for us and Your provisions for us.  Thank you that we are never alone.  Thank you that there is no pit so deep, that You are not deeper still.  Thank you that all of Your promises belong to us and are available to each of us as we depend upon Your and Your wonderful Word.  We commit ourselves to You and Your kind intentions for us.
In Jesus’ strong name,

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Dr. Marv Fogleman, Ph.D.

Dr. Marv Fogleman, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and served as Assistant Pastor and Counselor for Second Baptist Church in Santa Anna, CA. Dr. Fogelman is one of the endorsers of And He Restoreth My Soul, An Anthology. Pastor Fogleman is married to Pat and has been for many years.

All above verses are taken from NASB Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation