Many people seem to live by the principle “do no harm”. In other words, they feel that if they have not actively done something to hurt someone else, then they have no responsibility to help them if they are in trouble. The priest and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37 certainly seemed to live by that rule. They find a man robbed and wounded and left “half dead” but offer no aid to the unfortunate man. Evidently, they felt that since they had done nothing to cause this unfortunate man’s problem, they had no responsibility to render aid to him. The bible tells us differently. In Exodus 23:4-5 Moses said, “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.” Moses says that we have a responsibility to help others even if we did nothing to cause their problem and even if the person is our enemy.
In Matthew 7:12 Jesus said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” In other words, if we will treat other people the way we ourselves want others to treat us, we are fulfilling our God-given responsibility to treat others properly. In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus points out that it is necessary for us to treat even our enemies well if we would be children of God. We can do this if we properly understand and apply the concept of biblical love. As the word is often used in the New Testament, love is not a feeling of affection but rather wishing for others the highest possible good and working to bring that good about when we can. As the apostle Paul said in Romans 13:8-10, “...love is the fulfillment of the law.” Contrary to what some people believe, treating others as we ourselves would want to be treated must also include warning them when they are doing something wrong. In Galatians 6:1 Paul said, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Each Christian has a responsibility to the other. “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15).