What do you do when you are cruising down the highway at 65, 75, 105 m.p.h. (only in Montana or on the autobahn) and you come across a stranded motorist? If you are on the outskirts of One-Horse-Town North Dakota, you very well might stop. If you are in the southwest part of Chicago on I-55 headed toward the Loop, you probably wouldn’t dare. That is one of the “bad” sections of Chicago (west side, south side, Cabrini Green – plenty of “bad” sections of Chicago). You should probably avoid those sections of Chicago, especially if you are white-skinned like me. The black gang bangers don’t care if your heart is right with God or you are a nice person – they shoot first and don’t ask questions later – they just walk over your dead carcass.
30 years ago I went to Moody Bible Institute and my first PCM (practical Christian ministry) assignment was to work at a kids club in Cabrini Green. I was a southern California Bible-thumper who was gung ho to serve Jesus. All I knew of Cabrini Green was that it was a housing project for low-income people. What I didn’t know was that it was part of the “turf” of a ruthless gang. So in we went to one of the high-rise buildings to sign up kids for the club. Elevators did not work so up the stairs we went, passing black dudes in the dark stairwells. As naive but friendly sanitized Christians we smiled and said hello to these black dudes in the stairwell. Seemed like a strange place to hang out but hey, this was their home, not ours. Only later were we informed that these black dudes were gang bangers and the only reason we “whities” weren’t killed on the spot was because the gang bangers knew that the only white kids stupid enough to boldly enter their turf were Moody students. They respected us because we were there to help the kids. They left us alone. Pretty powerful testimony to the influence of the school that D.L. Moody founded.
Back to driving along I-55. It was a Sunday morning and we were driving into Chicago from Berwyn, our suburban landing pad. It was just my wife and I – no kids yet. We were cruising along and saw a car on the side of the highway at a spot with no shoulder – very dangerous. It was an Asian lady with her two kids – flat tire. We “naive” white-skinned Jesus Freaks decided to ignore the PRUDENT voice in our heads and instead chose to do the God-honoring thing: we did what Jesus did so many times: he went out of His way, stepped out of His “comfort zone,” and helped people in need, whether they be white-skinned Jews like Him or any-other-colored people like the Samaritan woman at the well. Help a woman and a Samaritan one at that – to a respectable Jew of His day that was anathema. Mn genoito – may it never be! Funny thing is: that is who Jesus was and is.
We stopped and helped this Asian, minority, different ethnicity and face shape and cultural “stuff” family stranded in a “bad” section of Chicago. Why? Because we are so doggone holier than thou? No. Our motivation for doing the non-PRUDENT thing is because that is what Jesus did and since we love him, we choose to obey Him – whether the world says it is PRUDENT or not. I could care less what the world thinks. I care a lot about what God thinks.