Beach Lesson #2, 2019
One morning while sitting on the beach, I saw a women walking down the shoreline. But on her return trip back, she appeared somewhat unstable as she walked on the edge of the surf right in front of where we sat. I kept watching her, and sure enough, she fell and began rolling in the water unable to get up.
My husband and I jumped up and ran over to help her stand up and fish her sunglasses out of the water. Once she was standing again, we asked her if she was okay. She said yes and, after we advised her to walk on the sand away from the surf, she appeared to be much steadier on her feet.
There were three men who had seen her farther up the beach and thought she appeared disoriented, but when they asked, she told them she was okay. Their concern caused them to follow her at a distance, just to make sure she made it back to her condo about a mile away. She had several people watching out of concern or her.
As I sat looking out at the water, I began to think about what happens when Christians fall down. And, yes, we do fall down often! What is the response of those who see us fall? What is our response when we see someone fall? Do we run quickly to help them stand back on their feet, steadier than before? Or do we just watch them roll around, unable to stand back up?
My heart has broken for those who publicly fall and are driven even further down by snide remarks. Then, I realize, that I, too, have been guilty of watching a fall, as I just sit in my chair, unmoved. “You know, you should’ve slowed down.” “You shouldn’t have walked that far.” “You shouldn’t be walking in the waves if you are unsteady.”
In today’s culture, a “fall” is easily spread all over the Internet. I’ve written about the way we handle issues on social media, especially those who fall, or even those we hope will fall. You can read that post here.
Even though we didn’t hesitate to run to that poor lady as she rolled in the water, I felt convicted and had to ask myself if I am willing to run to help another believer, or a lost person, when they are stumbling around trying to find their way back to their home.
We are told in James 5:19-20, what to do if the “stumble” is due to sin, “My brothers and sisters, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let that person know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” We are to lovingly help lead them back into truth.
If they fall in another way, I believe the story of the “good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37) gives us a glimpse of sacrificial love and care for one who has been hurt. Perhaps they’ve suffered a grave loss or a life-changing medical issue. Whatever has caused them pain, our role as followers of Christ, is to minister, serve and love them, not stand by and ignore, laugh or criticize.
I want to be willing to jump up and help those in need, without thinking, as quickly as we did when we saw the woman fall on the beach.
We found out later, she was disoriented and had even possibly suffered a heat stroke. We never know the whole story when we see someone fall. Perhaps there’s more to the situation.
I want a heart that moves me to jump up quickly to help a fallen saint, or sinner. I want to be slower to judge and quicker to serve those who “fall.”
But one more point here…those who fall also need to ask for help. If the disoriented woman had told us she was confused and not sure where her condo was, we wouldn’t have let her walk off.
I just finished a book by Tammy Daniel, Thus Far: A Journey From Heartache to Healing and Hope Through Christ.
You can read her personal story of falling and how she had to make a choice whether or not to allow her Christian sisters help restore her to faith. Her greatest help from when she admitted her need and asked for, and accepted, help. Her transparent story affirms the need for the body to care more than judge.