In January 2015, a terrorist stormed Hyper Cacher (a Kosher supermarket) in Paris and murdered four hostages. One of the store’s clerks, Lassana Bathily, heard the gunfire and hid shoppers in a freezer. Bathily, a Muslim whose courageous actions saved several Jews (including a child), was an immigrant who had been seeking French citizenship. As a thank-you for his bravery, authorities fast-tracked his papers and handed him a French passport during a public ceremony.

Bathily refused the praise. “People tell me I am a hero,” he said. “I am not a hero. I am trying to stay myself.” He believed that his courageous act was simply the right thing to do.

While this story would have been compelling at any time, it was particularly powerful as it happened during the week when terrorists went on a murderous rampage at a French newspaper. At the very time when tensions between people of differing ethnicities and religions were taut, Bathily’s actions provided hope.

Proverbs tells us that “upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper” (Proverbs 11:11). Whenever people humbly treat one another fairly and put others’ needs before their own or whenever neighbors choose to deal honestly and justly with one another, it leads to joy (Proverbs 11:2-3,5,10). Bathily acted bravely, but it appears that his bravery was merely the continuation of the way he chose to live toward his neighbors, even those who were different from him.

With Jesus as our example, we’re called to treat one another with dignity and pursue one another’s well-being, even if (maybe especially if) they’re different from us (Matthew 7:12; Mark 12:31). Let’s honor Him by being people who are good for the neighborhood.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 23:23–24:27