From the book Healing of Memories by David A. Seamands comes this story on page 49.
The Calgary Herald reported:
On June 5, 1978 seven-year-old Martin Turgeon slipped off the wharf and fell into the Prairie River. The dozen or more adults standing on the same pier did nothing-except watch him struggle a few moments in the water and then drown.
Why didn’t anyone help? Well, just a short distance upstream, untreated sewage is dumped into the river. The water is highly polluted and very smelly. One witness quote an onlooker as later saying, “We weren’t going to jump in there-the water was much too dirty.” A police-man who came on the scene shortly thereafter remarked bitterly, “It makes you wonder about how human people really are. The boy probably could have been saved.”
Luke 18:18 One day one of the local officials asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?” 19 Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good – only God.
Most people if asked would tell you they are good people. Most people if asked would tell you that they would have been the one to jump in and save the boy from drowning but the news tells us differently doesn’t it? This article also speaks to our delusion that things were better ‘back in the day’.
I don’t write this today out of any sense of arrogant morality. I am a germ freak. I don’t know if I could have jumped in and saved the boy so I am not any better than the people who stood on the sidelines.
Instead I write this because many see God as not good.
Well if God were good, he wouldn’t call my particular brand of sin, a sin. He’d understand that since he created me this way then he has to deal with it. The problem with this logic is that it isn’t true. To say that God made you selfish and prideful when he hates that is to say he made something he knew he’d hate from the beginning. That just isn’t true. Those of us who are creative know that we don’t dream up and create things we hate.
Well if God were good then why do bad things happen? Because the world is a place filled with imperfect people who make wrong choices. God gave us the earth and told us to multiply, subdue and take dominion. So therefore, our responsibility to each other can’t be ignored.
The list of supposed wrongs that God has committed goes on and on and the fact is that we blame him when the fault lies squarely on our shoulders if we’re honest. People go hungry while many die of obesity. We can’t really say we don’t have the resources to feed them, we do, we simply don’t care enough.
Jesus came to earth and jumped in that sewage filled lake as we struggled to stay alive. Rather than merely peer over the edge and watch us die, he had more grace and mercy that we could ever imagine or feel and jumped in to save us.
Let’s not kid ourselves. I believe most people try everyday to be good but we all fail at some point. Either through a decision that is selfish or an action made in haste without much thought. The one thing we can always count on to bring us peace is that people will fail us, give us enough time and we’ll do it every time, but God is ALWAYS good!