Sometimes, we form perceptions about people that are inappropriate, illogical, and improper. For example, what do you think about the prison inmates you see alongside a highway cleaning up trash or digging holes for fences? Do you think, “Well, at least it keeps them busy?” Our thoughts about the inmates probably run the gamut from unworthy to unfortunate.
We also see volunteers from a company or family who’ve “adopted” a stretch of road picking up trash. I watched a group of volunteers planting spring flowers and trees in a small garden that graced the entrance to the nursing facility my sister stayed in before she passed away. We might think of them as heroes, because they aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty nor do they concern themselves with what other people might think.
In biblical times, the supposed religious leaders crossed the street to avoid helping the Samaritan laying on the road. They looked at him as unworthy or unfortunate. However, there was one man who not only helped him, but also provided shelter for him — a hero in biblical times.
So, what would we think about six prison inmates, who while on a work detail, saved their correctional officer’s life? The “security officer, who asked not to be identified, collapsed unconscious,” and rather than taking his gun, hopping into the prison van, and driving away, saved his life. The locals and press are calling these inmates heroes.
They “… rushed over to the fallen officer and found that he wasn’t breathing … they removed his gun belt and bullet proof vest so they could perform CPR, while one of the inmates used the officer’s phone to dial 911.”
The officer has since recovered from the incident, and the Polk County sheriff reduced the inmates’ sentences by approximately 25%. If we are thinking the inmates performed CPR and called 911, because they wanted their sentences reduced, we have formed a perception about the inmates that is inappropriate, illogical, and improper. The inmates believed that this courageous act “was simply the right thing to do.”
Before we form opinions about people who are different from us, we must first remember that God created them just as he created us. Furthermore, we need to push our preconceived notions about people who don’t think as we do into the buildup of dross we’ve accumulated, and wait for the Lord to scrape it away each day. If we choose not to think of others as unworthy or unfortunate, may we call ourselves a hero?
No, we are simply doing the right thing — just as the prison