Concern About Others—A Sorely Needed Quality
SINCERE concern about the needs or well-being of others is becoming ever more rare these days. What accounts for this unhappy state of affairs?
Doubtless, some people have become less concerned about others because of the wrongs they themselves suffer. Others may once have tried to be helpful, only to have their efforts misunderstood. As a result, they now take the attitude, “What’s the use?” Further, not a few envy the success of greedy persons and so imitate their lack of concern. And no doubt the selfishness continually portrayed in movies, on TV, in newspapers and magazines tends to make people become less concerned about others.
This lack of concern commonly manifests itself right within the family circle. For example, women are known to be more often plagued with insomnia than are men. Yet who has not seen men who manifest little concern about this problem of their wives? Could it be that you, if a husband, come short in this or in some similar respect?
On the other hand, it must be admitted that many wives fall short in showing real concern for their husbands. If you are a wife, are you among those women who put their luxuries ahead of their husband’s necessities? Such lack of concern adds to a husband’s burdens and, in some cases, has caused him to have a heart attack.
And who has not observed parents betraying a lack of concern as to the habits their children are cultivating? Not that youths are wholly free from blame, but the problems all too often find their roots in parental indifference.
There are many other areas where concern for others is lacking. It shows up so often in bad manners. Women rudely push ahead in mad scrambles at department-store sales; younger folks push aside the elderly and the infirm. And what is widespread graffiti and vandalism but gross lack of concern for the property and interests of others?
Some persons are very choosy as to those for whom they show concern. They express it only when a close friend or one of their immediate family is involved. Others fence in their concern by boundaries of nationality, color or race. Thus many whites are quite unconcerned about the plight of blacks, even as many blacks evince unconcern as to what may be happening to a white person. And too often we read of an individual beaten by muggers right on a public street, with a crowd standing around without raising a voice or a hand in defense of the victim.
In fact, all such lack of concern for others goes back to the very first human family. Certainly Adam had little concern for his wife’s feelings when he referred to Eve as “the woman you gave me,” blaming her for his eating of the forbidden fruit. And who is not familiar with the expression “Am I my brother’s keeper?” That callous remark was made by Cain, the firstborn son of Adam, when God asked him about the whereabouts of his brother Abel, whom he had killed. True, few would think of committing murder, but what about harboring hatred? It is easy to do that if you have been treated unjustly by someone. But did you know that the Bible says that “everyone who hates his brother is a murderer”?—Gen. 3:12; 4:3-11; 1 John 3:15, New English Bible.
No doubt the ideal of showing concern for others in need is the “good Samaritan,” of one of Jesus’ parables. He stands in striking contrast to two smug religionists who had no pity nor empathy for a fellow human who had been beaten and robbed and left helpless by the roadside. The good Samaritan showed genuine concern. He treated the wounds of the victim, put him on his donkey, brought him to an inn and agreed to pay for the expenses involved.—Luke 10:29-37.
WHY SO VITAL?
Why is concern for others so vitally important? Because God commands that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves, even as the “good Samaritan” did. Surely we appreciate concern being shown to us when we are in need. Should we not, therefore, also show concern for others when they are in need?—Mark 12:31; Luke 6:31.
More than that, being concerned about others gives us a good conscience. It also gives us a sense of satisfaction of having done our duty. It is a form of giving, and giving brings with it great happiness.—Acts 20:35.
Showing concern in little things as well as in big things makes for good relations with others. We can help others in danger, or when illness or other tragedy strikes. But we can also show concern in our everyday relations. For example, when driving an auto, concern will make us careful to avoid accidents; it will keep us from being a “road hog”; and it will cause us to show consideration, as when we slow down so that a driver can enter into our main thoroughfare from a side street.
Are we living in an apartment? Then we can show concern for others by not playing our record player, radio or TV too loud; also by being careful that our parties do not get too noisy late at night. And in wintertime we can show concern by keeping our sidewalks free from ice and snow.
A fine example of concern for others was given by the German witnesses of Jehovah when released from concentration camps back in 1945. To mention but one instance: When 220 of them left the Sachsenhausen concentration camp under heavy guard, they faced a 120-mile trek. Circumstances were such that they traveled in a group. They managed to get a few small carts on which they placed the weakest of their members, and which the stronger ones pulled along. As a result, in a death march in which more than 10,000 inmates lost their lives, not one of the Witnesses died.—1974 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
It is because of their unselfish concern that Christian witnesses of Jehovah keep calling at the doors of their neighbors. They know that these are the “last days” and so they urge people to flee to a place of safety before it is too late. In this they are like ancient Lot, who warned his sons-in-law to flee with him from Sodom and Gomorrah. The record tells us that “in the eyes of his sons-in-law he seemed like a man who was joking.” But Lot was not joking and neither are the Christian witnesses of Jehovah joking today!—Gen. 19:12-29; Rev. 18:4
So we encourage you, not only to show concern for others, but also to benefit from the concern that these Witnesses manifest regarding your prospect for survival of the coming “great tribulation” to an opportunity for everlasting life.