The Plumb Line, by Jennifer LeClaire

Want to receive The Plumb Line by email? Sign up here
subway death new york city
The New York Post ran a front page photo of a man who had been pushed onto the subway tracks. The image shows the subway fast approaching as the man tries to climb back up to safety. He was unsuccessful and the subway killed him. (CBC)

Jennifer LeClaire is now sharing her reflections and revelations through Walking in the Spirit. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.


Imagine if the New York Post existed in Bible days. And imagine if the cover photo showed the man Jesus described in Luke 10—a man who was attacked by robbers, stripped of his clothes, beaten down and half dead.

Now imagine the uproar if that same image showed the priest and the Levite passing him by before the Good Samaritan finally stopped to save his life.

Fast-forward a couple of thousand years and the Parable of the Good Samaritan is playing out in front of our eyes—with an unfortunate twist that’s raising ethical concerns about the actions of a freelance photographer.

The New York Post ran a front page photo of a man who had been pushed onto the subway tracks. The image shows the subway fast approaching as the man tries to climb back up to safety. He was unsuccessful and the subway killed him.

The photographer, R. Umar Abbasi, said he wasn’t trying to take a photo of the man. He told NBC’sToday Show on Wednesday that he was trying to alert the motorman by flashing his camera.

"It took me a second to figure out what was happening ... I saw the lights in the distance. My mind was to alert the train," Abbasi said. "The people who were standing close to him ... they could have moved and grabbed him and pulled him up. No one made an effort.”

Abassi’s decision to collect a paycheck for his photo rather than playing the hero has sparked public outrage. Should photographers document what they see and then walk on by without lifting a finger to help, like the priest and the Levite in Jesus’ parable? Or should the media put down their tools and, like the Good Samaritan, save a life?

I’m a member of the media and I’m outraged. Since when is getting the cover story more important than a human life? Abbasi should have rushed to the victim’s aid and pulled him up before the subway train ended his life, regardless of what other onlookers were doing. Instead, he collected what I am sure was a tidy sum for the dramatic photo, which carries the title “Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die.”

Beyond all this, though, the event in that New York subway is a statement of human nature—and it’s nothing new. Jesus pointed out the problem more than 2,000 years ago in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. When the priest saw the robbed man laying there half dead, he passed by him on the other side of the road. The Levite did the same thing. These were men of God and they nonetheless ignored a helpless man at the point of death.

So before we crucify Abbasi for a poor decision, let’s look at the bigger problem: the love of many has grown cold. Jesus gave one new commandment to love one another (John 13:34). In this case, it looks like the photographer loved money more than he loved his neighbor. And, let's remember, the man was pushed down there at his peril before Abbasi ever arrived on the scene. But these men are not alone. It’s the unfortunate condition of the human heart. And only the gospel can transform us from lackadaisicalLevites to Spirit-filled Samaritans who value human life.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including Did the Spirit of God Say That? You can email Jennifer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Did you enjoy this blog? Click here to receive it by email.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit