Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve. Proverbs 24: 11-12
I know, this proverb is a bit of a heavy, isn’t it? Well, not all of it. There are actually two nuggets of wisdom here that a wise person practices.
The first is that a wise person will put themselves in harms way if they see an innocent person being treated in an unjust manner. But the question underneath that is “Why would a wise person become involved in matters of injustice?” It’s a good question. We are told to mind your own business, don’t talk to strangers, be careful who you associate with, and that it’s better not to trust people you don’t know. In other words, people are to be feared, and so we have become adept at looking the other way, minding our own business and side-stepping the issue (sometimes literally). But the wise person knows differently.
The wise person knows that every person has a story, every person comes from a family, and every person has the same needs as we do. The wise person knows that they simply need to ask themselves, “How would I want someone to treat me if I was in that position?” The wise person is more interested in others than they are with themselves. They remember that God’s love extends to everybody, not just a select few. They know that it could just as well be them that’s in that situation needing help.
Here’s a thought that crossed my mind, which I am currently pondering. I wonder if just as every human being has the image of God imprinted on them, if also imprinted on every human being is a little piece of me. I wonder if when I ignore a person in need, if in fact I am ignoring myself, and in turn, ignoring all of humanity and ignoring God. If so, then that feels like a sin against you, me and God.
The second nugget of wisdom is that the wise person lives with the attitude and belief that for God to be God, then he must know our inner thoughts and motives. If that’s the case, then it’s best to live accordingly.
“Lord God, help us to be wise and when we see a person suffering the injustices of this world, help us to remember that my fellow human being’s needs are my business.”
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ The Gospel of Matthew 25: 40