In Albert Camus' novel, The Fall, an established, impeccable French lawyer has his world totally under control until one night when he hears the cry of a drowning woman and he turns away. Years later, ruined by his failure to act, he winds up reliving the experience in an Amsterdam bar: "Please tell me what happened to you on the Seine River that night, and how you managed never to risk your life," he says to himself. "Go ahead,” utter the words that for years have never ceased echoing through his nights ... 'O young woman, throw yourself into the water again so that I may have a second chance of saving both of us!' "
When we fail to act in behalf of someone in distress, something inside of us knows, and will not let us forget, for we have been less than God intends us to be.