ODJ: good for the neighbourhood

November 13, 2015 

READ: Proverbs 11:1-14 

Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper (v.11).

In January 2015 a terrorist stormed Hyper Cacher (a Kosher supermarket) in Paris and murdered four hostages. One of the shop’s assistants, Lassana Bathily, heard the gunfire and hid shoppers in a freezer. Bathily, a Muslim whose courageous actions saved several Jews (including a child), was an immigrant who had been seeking French citizenship. To thank him for his bravery, authorities fast-tracked his papers and handed him a French passport during a public ceremony.

Bathily refused the praise. “People tell me I am a hero,” he said. “I am not a hero. I am trying to stay myself.” He believed that his courageous act was simply the right thing to do.

While this story would have been compelling at any time, it was particularly powerful as it happened during the week when terrorists went on a murderous rampage at a French magazine. At the very time when tensions between people of differing ethnicities and religions were taut, Bathily’s actions provided hope.

Proverbs tells us that “upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper” (11:11). Whenever people humbly treat one another fairly and put others’ needs before their own or whenever neighbours choose to deal honestly and justly with one another, it leads to joy (vv.2-3,5,10). Bathily acted bravely, but it appears that his bravery was merely the continuation of the way he chose to live towards his neighbours, even those who were different from him.

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: Acts 23:23-24:27

Read Romans 15:2 in the NIV and consider what it means to be a good neighbour. 
Where in your community do you see the need for upright citizens? How can you practically be a good neighbour to those in need?