Susan Calderón – TWV Chaplain
One afternoon while walking to the post office in downtown Mérida, Yucatén México, I saw a woman slip on a mango peel and fall. Some people passed by her with hardly a glance, others stopped at, stared, and still others rushed to assist her. Now, you may be thinking that sounds like a modern-day account of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Yes, such an analogy would fit well here. But, how did I know the woman slipped on a mango peel? Another person picked it up and threw it away. Someone had carelessly tossed it to the sidewalk, probably not considering likely consequences. I could use that person as analogy of someone causing harm to others, whether deliberately or unaware. The Bible also speaks to that person (Job 8:20; Psalm 34:14; Proverbs 3:29; 28:5; Ecclesiastes 3:12; Micah 6:8; Matthew 7:19; Romans 6:12; 12:21; 13:10). For today, neither of these analogies come into play.
The person who picked up and threw away the offending mango peel drew my attention. He saw that the woman had received adequate assistance but saw beyond her misfortune to the possibility of others suffering her fate, perhaps with worse consequences. His action made me look at myself and ask how many times I had passed up opportunities to take a dangerous situation out of commission, whether at work, at home, in the neighborhood, at church, or wherever. I tend to be non-conflictive/non-confrontational and, while I may rant and rave about something in private, am reluctant to speak out in public—or even to a person away from others’ hearing. Time and experience have helped me overcome my reluctance to a degree; I will now go to bat for someone/something I believe in more often, definitely for my faith. I still have a way to go. Have you ever considered that omission can cause just as much harm as (maybe even more than on occasion) commission? James 4:17 says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (New International Version). All of us have a sense of what we ought and ought not do, don’t we? And, to me, “ought” includes making the way safer for those around me. Think about where you can remove a danger, defuse a powder-keg situation, move someone/something out of harm’s way as you live your daily life. Don’t do it out of obligation or a sense of duty but out of love for God and for your fellow men/women along the way (Matthew 7:12; Colossians 3:17). Blessings to each of you.