"Love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27
Several years ago a young woman in New York City, Catherine Genovese, was twice attacked on the street and then killed. All the while, 38 persons in surrounding apartments heard her screams, but not one did so much as call the police. The onlookers did not want to get involved.
One sometimes wonders how cold and impersonal people can become in our large cities. The fault doesn’t lie in the surroundings but in human nature. Jesus spoke of this in His parable of the Good Samaritan. Long ago, not on a busy city street but on a country road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a traveler was robbed and nearly beaten to death. Two men who knew better, a priest and a Levite, passed by on the other side, failing to help the victim. They, too, didn’t want to get involved. It was up to the Good Samaritan to cross cultural and racial barriers to come to his rescue.
Sometimes it is fear and not knowing what to do that keeps people from helping. Sometimes another factor enters in – we are in a hurry to do something or get somewhere. So we pass on and leave it to someone else to lend a hand.
Emergency situations are hard to predict or to prepare for. But some things can be kept in mind. For one thing, we should know what number to call to summon the police, the fire department, or an ambulance. Another minimal effort is to stay with the victims and comfort them until professional help arrives.
Christians know why they want to do these things, not only because human decency requires it but also – and primarily – because our Savior, Jesus Christ, chose to become involved in our behalf. He did for us in a spiritual way what the Good Samaritan did for his victim: He took proper measures to heal us from the wounds of sin, save us from death, and make us well. We cannot repay Jesus for this, but we can show our thankfulness by helping others in need.
PRAYER: Lord God, give me a compassionate heart toward people in distress, and give me willing hands to help them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)