Following the verdict, Emmett’s mother said, “Two months ago I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to Negroes in the South, I said, ‘That’s their business, not mine.’ Now I know how wrong I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all.”
Making another’s concerns our own is what Leviticus 19:18 calls us to do: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus quotes this verse and interprets it as not placing any limitations on loving those around us (Matt. 22:39; Luke 10:25-37). Our neighbor doesn’t just mean someone close by; it’s anyone who has a need. We are to care for others as we care for ourselves.
To love our neighbor means to make the persecution, suffering, and injustice of our fellow human beings our own. It is the business of all who follow Christ. — Marvin Williams
For Further Thought
How can we be a good neighbor? Be respectful to all. Lend a hand. Volunteer. Join a neighborhood association. Speak up when others are treated unjustly.
What you just read is taken from the popular devotional, Our Daily Bread. I feel the text is obviously relevant in observance of MLK Jr. Day, but also because of the recent tragedy in Haiti. Oppression is the common theme in African American culture pre-Civil Rights, the country of Haiti's entire existence, and in modern day slavery. The title of this devotion is what got my attention, "It Is My Business". It is my responsibility and your responsibility as free, healthy, and wealthy (yes, I said wealthy) people to be a "neighbor" to all who are oppressed, down trodden and enslaved. I admit that I've been trying to shield my eyes from the horrible images of Haitian bodies being piled in the streets of Port-au-Prince. I always change the channel when that ASPCA commercial comes on because those abused animals break my heart. I have somehow let my passion for helping victims of human trafficking turn into another thing to do. In the 3 instances I just cited, my coping mechanism for these injustices is distance. I begin to remove myself and in so many words say, "it is not my business", but lately God is working to remind me otherwise. I distance myself so I don't walk around sobbing all the time. I think my biggest life lesson, or at least one of them, is learning to live in tension. There are many tensions one has to live in to make it through this life, but the one I am speaking of now is heart break and hope. This summer when I was at Polaris Project learning the ins an outs of human trafficking I had to fight to keep from being swallowed up in despair. Where was the hope in it all? I tried to remove God from the issue of human trafficking and look at it more objectively; like a task to complete. I couldn't deal with God allowing these things to happen. Anyway, I'm not good at dissecting ideas, so to sum things up, God does allow these things to happen, but he is still good and just... now that is tension.