Columns from the past
Faith in people. Faith in our fellow man. We have all heard this throughout our lifetimes.
In today’s world, it seems as if the faith that we have in others doing the right thing is somewhat diminished with each passing day. No, it is not our place to judge others. That is not at all what I mean. I am just simply trying to say that our first instinct when dealing with complete strangers is that they are out to do wrong instead of doing what is right.
As such, we had just as soon not get involved in a situation where we help out a complete stranger. Quite honestly, it is just too dangerous these days. Though some of us do get involved in helping complete strangers from time to time (sometimes against our common sense or better judgement), we often do so with hesitancy thinking that we are going to get burned at any moment.
God wants us to help our fellow man at each and every turn of opportunity whether we know the person or not. However, and once again, in this sometimes harsh and violent world in which we live, we often just can’t take the risk. This is most unfortunate. It seems as if the world (as a whole) no longer lives by the Golden Rule of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
I made a trip to Dallas last Saturday. Early on in my trip (not far out of Shreveport) I spotted a hitchhiker beside I-20 holding a sign with “Dallas” written on it. The gentleman looked honest and in need of ride. When I see such a thing, my instant response is: should I stop? Then, common sense and my defense mechanism kicks in and I keep driving. I have never picked up anyone beside the road unless I know the person (and I probably never will).
However, I have been on the other end of this equation a few times in my life when running out of gas or having car trouble. In each case, a motorist did stop and give me a ride to get help.
How unfortunate it is that we all can not do this when the need arises! However, in reality, we just can’t afford to take the risk unless it is someone that we know.
I have heard stories all of my life from much older relatives and friends who used to hitchhike practically everywhere they traveled…even across the country. Well, sadly, those days are gone!
All of this puts me in mind of a column that I wrote a few years ago when I did come to the aid of a complete stranger. I have run this column in our newspaper a couple of times over the last couple of years. It is titled “My $45 Lesson – it is always better to give than to receive.”
In picking out a sentence or two from this column: “As the Bible says in Matthew 7:12 (NIV), “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Also, Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV), “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way that you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” And finally, like the Bible says in so many places, it is better to give than to receive.”
In the situation I refer to in this column, the complete stranger that I loaned the $45 to did in fact pay me back three days later (just as he said he would do). This totally restored some of the faith I had lost in terms of others doing what is right.
In another column from the past, I talked about being thankful for what we have. To me, this goes “hand-in-hand” with “My $45 Lesson” because we should always be thankful for our many wonderful blessings and always strive to help those less fortunate than ourselves!
Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org