SEVERAL YEARS AGO the Carl Mosser family was traveling in Oklahoma when a gunman commandeered their car and held them hostage for several days as they drove around over the countryside. Their kidnapper had a strange eye that never quite closed, and the family could not tell when he was asleep. They were afraid for their lives, and so they were held hostage through the long and tedious ordeal. Finally, they stopped at a little station/grocery store out in the country. Mr. Mosser, saw his chance and he grabbed his abductor and begged the station owner to call the sheriff “Please,” he cried, “Please call the law
The owner got his own gun and told them all to leave. “I do not want any trouble around here,” he said. “Just all of you leave.” The terrified family drove away with their captor. The next day the couple and their two children were found murdered. Their bodies had been thrown into an abandoned well.
Their killer was brought to trial and convicted. Later the state tried the station owner and convicted him for his failure to notify authorities and perhaps save the family’s life.
Most of the time we would like to be neutral, and often this is the wisest course to take. Shakespeare warned about jumping into other people’s quarrels, and Solomon said that “He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears” (Proverbs 26:17). But there are times when being neutral can be criminal. The old saying is that silence is golden, but sometimes silence is just plain yellow. Pontius Pilate wanted to be neutral. He wanted to be the leader, but then did not want to show leadership. The Jewish leaders were bothering him with thinly veiled threats to report him to Caesar. The surging mob was calling for the release of Public Enemy Number One, Barabbas, while they clamored for the death of Jesus, a man in whom Pilate could find no fault. His wife begged him to have nothing to do with Christ’s death, but politics prevailed. The leader “washed his hands” of the matter, and when he had scourged Jesus he delivered him to be crucified (Matthew 27:24). Sometimes we just cannot be neutral and still be right with the Lord (cf. Matthew 12:30).—Bulletin Digest
Glad Tidings of Good Things, Volume 9/November 4, 2004, page 3