10 If you falter in a time of trouble,
how small is your strength!
11 Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
Not My Problem?
The plight of other people can lead us to pray, “Thank God! That is not me!” However, wisdom highlights that the plight of others is ours also. We are all related or connected in some way. We are all part of the human race and the race was meant to live in community. In Nazi Germany many were tempted to bury their heads in the sand as their neighbours were led away and tortured or killed. Niemoller’s famous response sums up a biblical wisdom:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.
(Note Niemoller delivered this statement orally and later in life could not remember his exact words. It was probably delivered in variant forms)
- Who should be rescued?
- How is the one who knows the plight of the suffering described?
- How does Niemoller reflect the sentiments of the biblical writer?
- Whose issues do you tend to ignore?
- What is your opinion about the plight of blacks in North America?