Cameras are all over the place. If we have a cellphone or other mobile device, we carry a camera all the time. Security cameras are a common item to see employed at many businesses. Law enforcement officers have body cams. Cars have dash cams or reverse assist cameras. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we could be recording. Every action. Every word. Recent social issues in our country show how this is easily done.
I recall a story a number of years ago in which a woman walked out of her apartment and was attacked and sexually assaulted in the hallway. The landlord did have security cameras. The suspects were apprehended. There was something interesting that the camera recording revealed. There were witnesses to the crime while it was happening.
As the sounds of the commotion and screaming reached the other apartments, the camera showed that other residents opened their apartment doors, and they either watched for a bit to see what was happening or immediately closed the door. They didn’t do anything to help their neighbor, to show her love.
Much like the priest and Levite who walked around and ignored the severely beaten man and left him to die.
The call for us is to love our neighbors as ourselves. One of the ways God gave us to accomplish this is in the commandment where He states clearly, “Thou shalt not murder.”
To every prohibition in the Ten Commandments there is a prescription on what we should be doing. When we are young, we learned that “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need” (Luther’s Small Catechism on the 5th Commandment).
Taking the life of another person is incomprehensible! We need to preserve life. We easily take a stand to be prolife, to protect the unborn. But is that enough? How do we preserve life? We go beyond just speaking up for the unborn, but to preserve their life after they leave the womb. How are we at doing that? When we see someone being assaulted, are we just closing the door to our homes, ignoring what is going on? Are we just standing with our cameras on, recording the misdeed? Or are we getting involved and actively protecting the victims.
No matter who is doing the misdeed, whether it is based on prejudicial, racial, or lustful ideations – these are all based on pride and a sinful view of oneself – whether the person is left hungry and in need, assaulted or mistreated in anyway, we are commanded by God to take a stand to “support him in every physical need.”
If we stay silent or don’t do anything, we are guilty of not loving our neighbor as ourselves. And it is no different than the perpetrators. Scripture makes it clear, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15).
Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times I didn’t do what is in my ability to protect, support and help those in every physical need. I plead the Blood of Jesus to forgive me of this sin. Breath Your Spirit upon me to empower me to look after the physical wellbeing of everyone you bring into my path. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by: Pastor Bartholomew