In the World–August 11, 2019

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An experiment in Germany studied whether or not people would help an immigrant. An actor in the experiment dropped a paper cup on the ground at a park, and the other actor (a woman dressed as an immigrant) either ignored the trash or chided the man until he threw his trash away. Then the woman dropped her own groceries, and the sociologists watched to see if bystanders would come to her aid. Germans are notorious sticklers for cleanliness. The procedure, done more than a thousand times, showed a significant statistical increase in people coming to the woman’s aid if she had first shown that she shared German values by making the man clean up.


Today’s story is about how Ruth, a woman from Moab, committed to staying by the side of Naomi, her deceased husband’s mother. She did this despite their differences in background, ethnicity, and religion. Ruth put her faith in the God of the Bible, and both King David and Jesus Himself trace their lineage to her. It’s important to form relationships with Christians from different backgrounds, especially for times of crisis or need. The Christian may have more in common with another Christian in a faraway nation than with a non-Christian neighbor next door.

  1. What’s an American value that a refugee could demonstrate that would make you more inclined to help him or her in need?
  2. In what ways, if at all, do you find yourself naturally inclined to reach out to people from other ethnic groups or different cultures?
  3. How might you form a new relationship with a Christian from a different background?

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