Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Fearlessly Helping One Another ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Fearlessly Helping One Another ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

"To live in a place where a woman still feels safe enough to open a door to a stranger."

These words, arresting in their simplicity, resonated with me. Walt Mills, a columnist for the Centre Daily Times in central Pennsylvania, was recalling the time when his car's alternator went out on a zero-degree night on a rural road near State College. He coasted into a parking lot near a few warehouses and businesses. It was almost dusk, and there was only one light on.

Walt knocked on the door of a small art studio. A woman, alone, allowed him to come in and use her phone.

Why did this woman feel comfortable opening her door to a stranger? Walt thinks it was a sense of a small-town community, in which we are all neighbors, including neighbors we don't know.

But our landscape in central Pennsylvania is slowly changing. How much longer will it feel safe to be a good Samaritan and open our door to a stranger?

There is a law of righteousness that empowers us to do the right thing - both for ourselves and for strangers. This God-ordained law determines the correct action to take.

In the case of the woman in the studio, the law of righteousness empowered her to trustingly open the door to a stranger. In a different circumstance, this law may empower her to do something different, such as call the police or call a friend to address a stranger's needs. We don't make the decision alone. The law of righteousness determines the right course of our actions.

I have seen this law operate in my own life. Years ago, I was on a consulting trip to Africa and had a 24-hour layover in Egypt. I contracted with a taxi driver to visit the pyramids. Once there, I negotiated with a camel rider to go out into the desert.

Many other tourists were doing the same thing, but my guide took me in a different direction, and soon we were far from the pyramids and the other tourists. I wasn't concerned because I was having a good time discussing politics and culture in my rusty French and Arabic. Eventually he led me behind a sand dune and we went into a cave. Inside, another man offered us tea. Again, I wasn't concerned. I had been a Peace Corps volunteer years earlier in Senegal, and one of my favorite experiences was preparing and drinking tea. …

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