A 93 year old man in Michigan froze to death after the electric company put a power-limiting device on his home. The device was installed due to an overdue balance on the man’s account. However, the man had plenty of money available to pay the bill and, according to family, had never been late in paying his bills in 50 years. Read the entire story at the link below:
Of course, no one wants to take the blame for this sad ending to a WWII veteran’s life. Plenty of blame is being pointed at the electric company’s method of handling the situation, including the use of limiters in the first place. However, I was particularly struck by a statement from the city manager of Bay City where this tragedy took place. Robert Bellemen said that he was “deeply saddened” by the man’s death and that neighbors have a responsibility to each other.
That is interesting. This city manager looks at the situation and says that neighbors have a responsibility to each other. I am reminded of Jesus’ command in Scripture that we are to love our neighbors. This command is repeated often in Scripture, but one of the key passages is found in the book of Matthew.
Mat 22:34-40 ESV But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. (35) And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. (36) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (37) And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (38 ) This is the great and first commandment. (39) And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (40) On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
We talk a great deal about loving our “neighbors” as Christians. We realize that Jesus’ words are not to be taken literally; he was not talking about only those who live next to us on our streets. He was talking about everyone we come into contact with, which includes those who live next to us. How can we really claim to fulfill what Jesus called the greatest two commands in all of Scripture if we do not even know who our neighbors are?
Yes, we can point the blame at the electric company in a case like this, but we all share in the blame. We all fail to care for our neighbors as we should. It is our responsibility.