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My Good Samaritan Moment - Serving While Staying Safe

christian faith good samaritan how to kick fear to the curb serve staying safer Mar 28, 2023

My husband and I look forward to our anniversary getaway every year. We usually pick a destination with lakes, ponds, or streams nearby. Last year was no exception. We found what we thought would be the perfect spot to rest, relax, and reconnect. As we drove through a deeply wooded area that surrounded a series of small lakes, God also gave us an opportunity to be Good Samaritans. 

We weren’t expecting what was about to happen as we checked out the stunning views we had come to see. We pulled into a small parking lot  and could see one other car in the lot. Its driver’s side door was open and a woman was on her knees, fumbling on the floorboards like she was looking for something. One of Jesus’s points in the Parable of the Good Samaritan is that it’s one thing to know the right thing to do, and another to do it. Convicted, we asked if she needed some help.

My sweet husband is a very trusting soul, and I’ll bet a lot of you are too. Me…not so much. I wanted to serve the woman and give her whatever help we could, but I wasn’t going to do it at the expense of our safety. Let's examine  how we helped - safely.

  • Remember how I said the area was very wooded? While my husband got out of the car to see how he could help her, I stayed in the car to keep an eye on any cars approaching us or any accomplices who might have been hiding in the woods.  Oh, and I had my phone out ready to call 9-1-1 if necessary. Paranoid? No, just an experienced private investigator practicing situational awareness. I’ve learned the value of using caution and being prepared for anything. 
  • The woman told us she’d dropped her keys and her phone was dead so she didn’t have a flashlight to look in her car for them. As he was getting out of our car, I had whispered to my husband to hold his phone to give her light but not just hand it to her. She had a dog in the car with her who looked sweet enough but better to stay back holding the light source and let her rummage through her own car. 
  • It looked like the lady was living in her car, dog and all. I looked up the local non-emergency police number and called to ask for assistance. I knew they would be aware of local agencies who could help with her problems that were ongoing and causing more problems than a lost set of keys. 
  • Once we were assured that police help was on the way, we continued our tour of that beautiful area. As we did, we gave her what was probably the best help of all. We prayed that God would not only provide for her needs in that moment but that He would use it to reveal to her that her biggest need was to know Him. 

Now let’s unpack all of this because I’m guessing that one or two of you may think that I was overly paranoid and didn’t do anything to help this poor stranded woman. I hear you, and I can understand how tempting it is to just throw ourselves into any situation ready to save the day. So let’s dive into why we handled this situation the way we did, and why I recommend this approach for you the next time you are faced with a Good Samaritan moment.


Preying on people’s good nature is nothing new for criminals. There are varying versions of criminals using decoys to give the appearance that there are people in need.  You can read about some of them here, here, and here. My goal is to make more people aware of this, not so they will stop helping people, but so we all can be wise in our approach to acting as Good Samaritans.

The first action that I described as practicing situational awareness is something I want everyone to do wherever they go! It’s a standard personal safety action that simply means you are also paying attention to where you are, what other people are around you, and what they seem to be doing. Easy-peasy. It also has the added benefit of making us more likely to notice when someone else needs help.

Calling the police wasn’t passing the buck. We knew  the police would know what local groups could help this lady with her long-term needs. We were just visitors, and wouldn’t have the resources they did, nor could we follow up with her the way locals could. Plus, it kept us safe so that we could help others in the future. 

When tragedy strikes, I know that tons of people hop on social media to criticize people for praying about the situation. As believers, we know it’s the very best help of all! But we do have to  give people practical help when we can. The original Good Samaritan from the parable didn’t pass by the injured traveler and just say “I’ll be praying for you, bruh”. He stopped and took care of the man’s immediate needs. It doesn’t say this in the text, but it isn’t a stretch to imagine that the Good Samaritan was trying to encourage the injured traveler as well. My husband and I used this opportunity to let the woman tell us her story and try to encourage her the best we could.

It became apparent very quickly that she had complex, long-term needs. That’s why we found someone who could connect her with groups who were set up to address her situation. The details of exactly how we serve will look different in every situation, but one common denominator should always be prayer. And this is a way we can keep serving long after the initial encounter is over. God used this blog post to remind me to lift her up in prayer again, wherever she is now. 

I mentioned that my husband helped this woman look for her lost keys but holding up a source of light, so I will wrap up by sharing John 1:5 from the New Living Translation:

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

We live in a broken world that seems to get increasingly darker by the day. But there is hope! We have Jesus, the light of the world, and His light will never be extinguished by any amount of darkness. Now you’re ready to watch for opportunities to share that light as a Good Samaritan AND you know how to keep yourself safe at the same time.


For more safety tips, grab a copy of my book, How to Kick Fear to the Curb: Private Investigator Approved Safety Tips with Biblical Evidence to Fear Not.  I've reduced the price for a limited time, so don't wait!


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