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Row houses Breaking news- missing girls found alive! This amazing story out of Cleveland of the freeing of three young ladies, held captive for almost ten years, is making national and even international headlines. The question is being asked again and again- how do you live next door to a person for a decade and not know that three women were being held there against their will? One of the neighbors interviewed stated, “I am ashamed that this happened in my neighborhood, and I am one of the neighbors.” Basically he was admitting that he knew very little about the person he lived beside for a decade. In other words, he should have been more neighborly. 

Here is a quiz question. Can you give the first and last names of the neighbors who live two doors down on both sides of your home? How about those who live directly across the street? If you can, Congratulations! You are the exception to the rule. There’s a common quote that says, “It’s time we put the neighbor back in the hood.” It’s unfortunate that it takes a news story about abducted girls to remind us of how we should be good neighbors. Cocooning is a term used to express the way too many of us live our lives. Cocooning is the name given to the trend that sees individuals socializing less and retreating into their home more. Think about it; we text each other across the room. We check Facebook to find out what our friends are up to instead of actually meeting face to face to ask. It seems the closer we are pushed together in this crowded planet, the further we move away from each other.

Jesus told a story about what it means to be a good neighbor. The story is often referred to as the story of the Good Samaritan. For those who may not be familiar with the story, it’s found in Luke 10:25-37. The moral of the story is that our neighbor is not just someone who lives in our neighborhood; rather it is anyone in need of our assistance and who is unable to help themselves. Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus were someone’s neighbors. For 10 years they were in dire need of help, being held against their will by a mad man. They needed a Good Samaritan to rescue them. Enter Charles Ramsey, a modern day Good Samaritan, or we could call him a Good Clevelander. Charles did what good neighbors do; he took action and did what was necessary to give the gift of freedom to three women who had been imprisoned in his neighborhood. Now Charles is being heralded as a modern day hero. His response? Read the following excerpt from an interview he did with Anderson Cooper of CNN.

Within hours of becoming a national hero, a viral video star and the top topic on Twitter, Charles Ramsey talked about having trouble getting sleep. It wasn’t because of all the excitement that followed his knocking down a Cleveland neighbor’s door, freeing three women and a girl who police say were held hostage for years.

Instead, Ramsey told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, it was about knowing he had lived for a year near the captive women on the city’s West Side.

“I could have done this last year, not this hero stuff,” said Ramsey. “Just do the right thing.”

Did you get that? Just do the right thing!

This is what Jesus did for us. We were held hostage by the power of Satan, enslaved to a life of sin. But Jesus did the ultimate Good Samaritan thing by breaking down the walls that separated us from God and true freedom. He now calls His followers to model His example and go and do likewise.

So, if we don’t know our neighbors, isn’t it time we get acquainted? Not just those who live near you but those who work beside you or stand behind the counter where you do your daily business. Isn’t it time that we start looking around more and paying greater attention to our world? Who knows, we might discover there is someone right under our nose that is bound and needs someone to set them free. We hold the key to their freedom, we only need to do the Good Samaritan thing and give them a message of hope or lend a helping hand. Thank you Jesus and thank you Charles Ramsey. You are my heroes.