Archived: The Kind of Neighbors We’ve Become


The old adage “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” seems to have lost its relevance for many of us.

Today, as I was driving through the shopping district near where I live, I saw a man lying on the sidewalk. He appeared to be clean, wearing a sport shirt and dark pants. I don’t know how long he had been there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was quite awhile.

People walked around him, not even bothering to look down at him. Cars continued to whiz by without even bothering to look his way.

I have no cell phone, so I had to wait until I got to where I was going to call 911 to alert them to the man who appeared in need of help.

The experience shook me up. I don’t know what has happened to our collective sense of compassion or caring for others. For too many people it’s just too much effort to call 911, or to take the time to stop and render aid.

We easily walk away from people, who are most likely homeless and with nowhere to bathe or sleep, automatically assuming their plight is of their own doing, without really knowing their stories.
Our country is undergoing a time of deep economic crisis, with huge numbers of workers losing their jobs, families losing their homes, hunger rising at an alarming rate.

And while many are worried and cutting back on spending, few realize, to quote another timeless adage,  “There, but for the grace of God, go I,” or that tomorrow, that anonymous homeless person could be me, or someone I know.

I remember the old saying I heard as a child, “Brother can you spare a dime?” I can’t help but think that today, rather than seeing the neediness of the person asking, we’re more likely to be offended by a homeless person calling us “brother.

As we celebrate this season og giving, I hope you will consider a contribution to a food bank, homeless shelter or a homeless neighbor you may come across during these busy days.
It’s easy to give presents to those you love; it’s harder to give it to some anonymous stranger. Perhaps this year your gift to a loved one could be a donation in their name, and their gift to you could be to accept it with grace and pride.

Celebrate the Christmas season with true love and caring to bring about greater change in your community.

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