Shadows can be scary things for small children. And there were always lots of shadows on the farm. One’s imagination could create anything with the shadows, from huge monsters to angels standing guard. Lights were limited and darkness was abundant.
A lot of people live in the shadows. They see some light but are surrounded by dark images and have no clarity of vision. They look at life differently. They see but don’t connect at the heart level. They are distant observers who just watch as others struggle and feel no sense of involvement.
Such was the case on June 19, 2008 when Esmin Green, 49 years of age, lay helpless on the floor of city-owned Kings County Hospital in New York for an hour as visitors, medical staff, nurses, and even a doctor walked away from her without rendering aid. She had collapsed on the floor with a blood clot after sitting in the hospital waiting room for almost 24 hours awaiting treatment.
And there is the case of a man in Massachusetts who was walking along a dock when he tripped over a rope and fell into the deep, cold water of the bay. Unable to swim he cried out for help. Only a few yards away was a young man, sprawled on a deck chair sunbathing. The drowning man kept shouting, “Help! I can’t swim!” But the young sunbather, who was an excellent swimmer, just turned his head and watched as the man floundered in the water, then disappeared forever. A lawsuit against the young man elicited a ruling from the court that he had the legal right to mind his own business and not become involved. This court would have vindicated Cain who asked God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
When people live sub-human lives they walk in darkness and never see the beauty of God’s light. Self-centered, ego-centric, and indifferent to the cries of struggling and lost humanity, they find themselves also lost in the shadows. If we live as children of the Light we cannot bear to turn a deaf or insensitive ear to those who hurt, or to those who are lost. Jesus declared that He is the “Light of the world” (John 8:12), and the apostle John tells us that the darkness of the world could not extinguish the Light (John 1). And Jesus designated us as the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) and commissioned us to bring Light into the darkness. The responsibility for the lost in our world is on our shoulders. We cannot sit in the shadows.
- Al Behel served the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN, for many years prior to this death in April 2022. The congregation may be contacted through their website - https://gsmchurchofchrist.com/