LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF: THE UNRECOGNIZED MILLIONS OF GOOD PEOPLE IN AMERICA
You don’t know they exist. Most don’t know you exist. They go about their lives quietly and unselfishly, determined to do their best and be kind to others. It has its own reward.
THE GOLDEN RULE
“You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” [Leviticus 19:17-18]
One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:35-40]
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 7:12]
Whether they actually know it or not, or try to, the good people in America instinctively obey the Golden Rule. They just do it. They generally don’t let something else come into their life and interfere with their natural behavior. They reject false narratives and pejoratives that may cause them to become something they are not, or act inappropriately, or disparage people they don’t know personally, or give in to hate. They know the best they can do is simply be what they are in the sense of doing well for their fellow human beings. It is not a religious thing whatsoever. They do not think, “Oh, I must obey the Golden Rule today.” They might pray and ask for help in doing this to a better or to the best degree but when out among the community, they just act naturally.
And that’s the key. It is what I think the Lord Jesus appreciates most about these people. And please understand, I am not saying these people are perfect. Nobody is. We all prove our humanity from time to time even when we try our best not to. What I am saying here is that some people don’t need to be prompted to act right or do right but just do it at the time when life presents itself before them.
A COOL STORY (AND ANOTHER)
Several years ago I had to assist in taking care of my mother’s house after she passed away. We had to get it prepared for sale. Her belongings were either donated to charity or divided up among her children with each on board working together and behaving perfectly through the process, a rare thing among families. She had still lived in the city we grew up in. I had moved out of town in my twenties. I discovered that good people were still everywhere there at that time, simply going about their business, most not causing any trouble, like in many places. The city had changed quite a bit outwardly, becoming even larger. The demographics had also changed.
Early one morning I was going to a grocery store to get a few things. I knew no one in the neighborhood. I parked my car and was heading toward the main entry at the front of the store. As an aside, I have been drinking only purified water for over thirty years after discovering the poisons that lurk in tap water. This store had one of those water purifying vending machines just outside the main doors along with other vending machines. Along with an empty water jug, I was carrying with me a little component from my car, a small cup with a spring lid that fits in a round car tray behind a small door in the dash. I would keep my change in it.
So I’m walking. Right when I entered the main traffic area in front of the store which separates the parking lot from the store entrance, it happened. It was one of those things that makes a person feel a tad embarrassed but later proved to be a veritable godsend. Right there where all the cars drive by and many people cross, right in the middle of that high traffic area, I dropped my coin container. It hit the pavement, the lid opened up, and loose change went flying everywhere. There, all over the asphalt in a widening circle were my quarters and nickels and dimes making their acquaintance with the dirty street and coming to rest as either heads or tails though I briefly, for a split second, could not make heads or tails of the situation.
Then I immediately got down and went to work quickly gathering them up, not so concerned about my money but about getting it done as fast as I could so as not to further inconvenience anyone, especially the people in cars who would have to wait until the perpetrator of this miscue gathered up his coinage and made haste to clear the way. Then, while I was down there engaged in tunnel vision carrying on in my hurried solitary pursuit with the eyes of the world upon me from all sides on a stage not at all of my choosing, the most amazing thing happened. Other people who were also walking to and fro started helping me. They started picking up coins and putting them in the little coin cup or handing them to me, all without saying a word. One young mother with two or three kids in tow had stopped and was doing this. I distinctly remember one little girl, her daughter, of maybe four years of age. She immediately took a few steps to the side, picked up a stray coin a few feet away, and returned it to me. She looked at me with not so much of a smile but with a pleased look on her young face, as though she knew she was doing something good to help the poor man. As I think about it, and knowing how powerful memory-making can be when we’re young and impressionable, she may still remember this event.
Then a guy came walking in from the parking lot talking on his cell phone. He was in the midst of a kinda sorta animated phone conversation as he was walking and when he came into the area he simply bent over and started picking up a few coins and giving them to me while still carrying on his conversation. He never even looked at me or missed a beat. He just did this all in stride like he did it all the time. I’m sure the people waiting in their cars to drive through were also quite patient with the proceedings. Maybe they enjoyed what they saw. Maybe, as spectators, they were blessed by the proceedings. I was still scrambling to get it all done and was somewhat surprised that so many were helping and that they thought nothing of it. Not one single person tried to take anything. They all helped me until it was quickly done and I had all my coins back ready to feed a few into a machine for some water. Is there a parable here? I thanked them but I don’t remember anyone saying a word. There could have been a language barrier with some. They just acted. They had this goodness in them. Nobody told them what to do. They just did it. Without even acknowledging what they were doing or thinking about it each of these people had perfectly obeyed the Golden Rule.
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts… [Romans 2:14-15]
There was another time after this, several days later, when I was at that same location to buy a few groceries and also get some more water, when a similar event happened but had much more important ramifications. I was in the exact place walking through the parking lot close to the entry and stopped to get a shopping cart. There was a rack of them in the lot on the left before one crossed the main traffic area in front of the store, right where the former coin spillage had occurred. As I reached to get the first cart and separate it from the rest, right there on the tray-like depression at the top of the cart by the handle was a ladies beige leather wallet. I immediately thought of the unfortunate person who mistakenly left it there and how worried she must be. I took the wallet and went directly to the entry and found a store employee that happened to be there and told him about it. I asked him about a lost and found. He said yes, they had one. I told him the story. I gave the wallet to him and he went directly into the store right away and turned it in.
Then, while filling up my jug with water just outside the store by the entry, a young woman came walking up from the parking lot. I must have been the only one there at the time. She came right over to me, a very concerned look on her face, and asked if I happened to know about a beige wallet she just lost. Can you imagine this? Can you imagine how the Lord does His best to put the right people in the right place every day everywhere all over the world so we can help each other out? I immediately told her that yes, I found it. I found your wallet. I told her I had just given it to a store employee who turned it in to the store lost and found. She thanked me and hurriedly went into the store, still bearing a very concerned look on her face. A few minutes later she came back out with her beige leather wallet in hand, much relieved, and thanked me heartily. She began reaching into her wallet, wanting to give me a reward. I politely refused and told her I was glad to help. Then she dropped a MOAB. She told me she had just cashed her paycheck before she lost her wallet and that her newly recovered beige leather wallet was filled with cash which she needed to pay bills that day.
Now, please understand, I am not relaying this story in an attempt to bring glory to myself. This is something you would have done exactly the same as I did. It is something any of the millions of good people in America would have done and do on a daily basis. I am certainly thankful for her that I was one of the ones who found it that would have turned it in. I am glad I was there for her. There are other people out there that would have ripped her off in a heartbeat and not thought twice about it or have any remorse afterwards.
Granted, this second story has much more impact than the first story about the goof who scatters his spare change all over the pavement in the most absolutely conspicuous of places. But on second thought, maybe God planned it that way. Maybe it wasn’t purely an accident. Maybe I wasn’t a goof at all but one who obeyed God. Maybe that container full of coins was supposed to fall down and empty its contents all over Creation like that. It sure did make for a great memory and also blessed others with an opportunity to display their natural goodness and unthinking adherence to the Golden Rule. It obviously blessed my socks right off. I will never forget those wonderful people.
Maybe the apparent miscue was actually an answer to prayer. I don’t know about you, but I do pray every morning, the very first thing, on my face, that the Lord would order my steps for the day, along with other short prayers. I’ve been doing this for a very long time. This is the prayer:
“Father, I ask that you would order my steps today and line everything up the way you want it to go. I ask for your great powerful anointing and strength and your great physical anointing and stamina that I can do your will. Thank you Father. Amen.”
On some days it appears as though I never prayed this prayer, based on the not so great events of those particular days. Sometimes I wonder if the prayer does any good at all. We must remind ourselves, however, that the vast majority of days are not about conquering the world but about engaging in the greatness of what many good days strung together consistently will bring into one’s life over the long haul and the beneficial impact it will have on others.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:1-2]
Imagine a society in which everyone obeys the Golden Rule on a daily basis. Though we are all human and subject to being humans and doing human things, as we get better at obeying the Lord and becoming a better reflection of Him we will also get better for one another. When one is having a hard time another will pick him up. When one is blessed she will be able to bless another not as fortunate. Some people are so hurting it will take a while to get them well again. The better we get as people the more we will be able to help each other.
This is what the real Community of the Lord Jesus is like. It is about regular people who joined His Kingdom and pledged themselves to do His will and become better people with an eye for helping others so everyone can be blessed instead of just a few.
Remember, the more people there are doing the work of God the less the burden there is on each one.
And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
‘Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight.
‘Every ravine will be filled,
And every mountain and hill will be brought low;
The crooked will become straight,
And the rough roads smooth;
And all flesh will see the salvation of God.’” [Luke 3:3-6] 
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on May 13, 2022, in Real Christianity and tagged America, Community of the Called-Out Ones, Golden Rule, Lord Jesus, Love Thy Neighbor, People Helping People, Prayer, Real Christianity The Nature of the Church, The Blessings of God, The Great Awakening. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.