If you say, “See, we did not know this,” does He not consider it who weights the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?
“I didn’t know.” But you did, and try as you might, ignoring it will never change the fact that you knew. Friends and family battle a multitude of inflictions. Depression, guilt, loneliness and suffering taunt us all on a daily basis. Seldom, however, do we look past our own pain to help those next door; even further from our minds are the sufferings of strangers. We rush them by every day of our lives. We know they are staggering, barely holding on, but we resist their need for deliverance. If we don’t notice, it isn’t our responsibility.
When will we realize that our self-deception, while beneficial now, will not hold up on the day of the Lord? Have we honestly forgotten that He has the ability to weigh our hearts and to know our souls? “I didn’t know” will not pass the Lord’s test on that day. Our selfish works, governed by the lies of ignorance, will be burned up like chaff when tested with His fire (I Corinthians 3:12-15). I challenge you to reevaluate your response to “those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). It is concerning our response to these that Solomon warns, “Will he not render to man according to his work? (24:12).
Just as we are without excuse to our response, so are we to our obligation. The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that it is our duty to assist those in need. Christ illustrates this importance through the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). Romans 15:1 commands us, “Those who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” James 2:8 reminds us that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Not even our enemy, if he is hungry or thirsty, should be ignored. As children of God, we are to imitate the heart of Jesus. It is our responsibility to care for everyone need, even our enemies (Romans 12:20).
I wonder how many times we have blown by those in desperate need of comfort because of our own selfishness. I am frightened to know that one day I will be held responsible for the lack of compassion I’ve shown to strangers, friends and family. How many times have you received encouragement and support from both those closest to you, and complete strangers? When was the last time you meditated on how Jesus reached out to you in your greatest season of need? It is my guess that even today you know of someone who could use encouragement or physical assistance. I challenge you to put off helping them no longer. Not only is it the right thing to do, but also it’s what we have been commanded to do by our Savior. When you stand before the Lord, will you be commended for your compassion, or judged for your selfishness?
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17).