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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10 Small Ways To Help Others.

First, click here to read Luke 10:30-35
    The Good Samaritan is a well-known story. We often focus on how we'd expect the priest or the Levite, the good and faithful guys, to help the man. Instead, it's the Samaritan who helps. I want to focus on something else though. The man that everyone is passing is in obvious need of help. He is stripped of his clothing, wounded, and half dead. HALF DEAD. Imagine someone hits a person with their car and continues driving, and you drive by and see them laying there in such bad shape that their life is at stake. I would hope you'd get out and help them. I'm sure you'd get out and help them. However, there are people we pass from day to day who are half dead, so to speak, and we are too busy with our lives to take notice and help them. We sort of become the good and faithful who fail to take notice. Watch the video below to see what I mean. I'm guilty of this myself. 

    Take Action! Below are some simple ways to help others. You may not know what someone is going through by looking at them, but it's safe to assume that each person you come in contact with is going through something. Choose to help others. 

10 Small Ways To Help Others

1. Buy someone coffee, gas, or their meal without them knowing. 

I've never paid for someone's gas, but when I worked for a gas station, there were two times when someone wanted to pay for another's gas. You can give the cashier cash and ask them to use it for the next person who comes in to pay using cash. I have purchased someone's meal before. You can do this in a restaurant or at a drive-thru. It's great way to surprise someone and remind them that there is still good in the world. You may just help someone going through a rough-patch financially. 

2. Write a note of encouragement to a neighbor or friend. 

When I was in college, I would find notes with scripture and words of encouragement written. Sometimes I knew who they came from, and sometimes I didn't. Either way, they brightened my day and reminded me that things would be okay. 

3. When someone makes a driving mistake, keep your hand off the horn and your hands on the wheel. 

This is a hard one. There was a time when I'd honk my horn or throw my hands up in attempts to place blame and make sure they were aware they'd done wrong. Sometimes, it is necessary. Sometimes, people drive like crazy on purpose, which is crazy itself. However, a lot of times, people simply make a mistake. They don't see you. They aren't paying as much attention as they should. We've all made driving mistakes. OOPS! Sometimes you can see them grimace when they realize their mistake. Each time I drive, I try to think before I beep, which is easiest to do when my day is going well. Choose to let someone off the hook, especially if you've done the same thing before. Chances are, it wasn't intentional. If you're like me, you'll need to take a deep breath to keep from laying on the horn. If I can do it, anyone can! 

4. Compliment a stranger. 

The best compliments can come from perfect strangers, because they are typically most genuine. If you like someone's outfit, tell them. If that person is having a bad day, I guarantee you'll make it slightly better. 

5. Pay for someone's ticket. 

I've heard of people paying for  parking tickets that they see on cars on main street. They leave a note with cash folded inside saying "No need for a bad day. Enjoy your day!" 

6. Put your phone down and strike up a conversation. 

We live in an awkward society where everyone is looking at their phone while they sit in a waiting room. It won't be easy to do, but try putting your phone down and strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Chances are, they'll be looking at their phone too, so you might have to start with a complement so that they'll look up. People are often hiding behind their gadgets. I am living in a new area and I LOVE getting to know new people in the area. It may sound strange, but I seem to have met more elderly people than anyone else, because they are the ones not hooked on their phones. Be that old lady. It's cooler than you'd think. 

7. Encourage parents with small children. 

Do you see a kid throwing a tantrum in the grocery store? Instead of grimacing and looking the other way, smile and let that parent know that things will be okay. If a parent is correcting their child instead of letting them have their way, compliment their efforts. If you've been there, tell a story about when you were a mom or dad. For example, one time my brother was having a tantrum in a store, and my mom, frazzled by his continuing behavior, decided to throw a tantrum in the aisle as well. It may sound insane, but it worked. My brother never ever threw a tantrum again, at least, not in public. I don't think anyone would encourage her 'moment,' and she probably wouldn't either, but instead of turning your head, at least offer a smile and a statement like "it'll be okay." 

8. Give up the closest parking spot. 

If you don't have a deadline, choose a parking spot further away from the store. Not only will you get extra fresh air and exercise, but you'll help someone in a rush along the way. 

9. Befriend someone in a nursing home. 

There is nothing exciting or wonderful about a nursing home, especially for the one that lives there. I mean, how would you like to be stuck inside all day with little to do? Some of those people don't even have family visiting them. Take an hour or so every other week and hang out with the elderly. If you play music, take a guitar. If you love crafts, hand some out. If you have children, take them with you. When my grandpa was in the nursing home, we'd hang out in the common room. Elderly people loved watching my brother, sister, and I interact with each other, even if it was sibling rivalry. They loved telling us stories or jokes. They loved being around us. While I never loved nursing homes, I learned to love those people, and I honestly was entertained by many of them. 

10. Smile. 

If nothing else, smile at strangers throughout your day. It may sound small, but it's true that they are contagious!

I'm always looking for small ways to help others. If you have any that I haven't listed, feel free to share in the comments below! 

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