I grew up pondering questions like “Would I run back into a burning building to save someone?” The fact is, no matter what we would tell others, we really don’t know the answer until a crisis occurs. If forced to make a split-second decision, what would we do?
Our library staff keeps incident reports that range from a child falling off a chair to a patron acting inappropriately. When I read these, I wonder if I would have made the same decisions that staff did. How would I have responded? Do I see potential mistakes that I would have made?
Mamoudou Gassama was an undocumented migrant from Mali who was arrested and beaten several times as he traveled to Europe. In 2018, he was in Paris on his way to a soccer match when he came across a horrified crowd watching a child hanging off of a fourth-floor balcony.
What would he do? He could have joined everyone else in watching this scene. His experiences might have made him hesitant to get involved. However, Gassama quickly scaled the outside of the building to save the boy. The 22-year-old later said he didn’t have time to think. He just acted. The video taken by a spectator quickly went viral, and he was dubbed “Spiderman” by those who viewed his incredible rescue online. France granted him citizenship and within a few weeks he was given a job with the Fire Brigade.
Loving others as Jesus loves us may not mean physically risking our lives for someone else. But it may mean helping a total stranger, acting without calculating, and knowing that because of Jesus, our past doesn’t have power to keep us from doing the right thing.
Recall a time when you had to make a quick decision on someone’s behalf. Did you make a loving decision, as Jesus loves, or would you like a do-over?
God, help us become those who instinctively love others as you love us, regardless of who they are. Amen.