I'm feeling some serious, hard core rambling coming on, so you have been warned. I'm not even sure I can articulate what is in my head so that it makes sense. But here goes.....
Have you ever seen the television show called 'What Would You Do?' It is a television news magazine and hidden camera show. In the series, actors act out scenes of conflict or illegal activity in public settings while hidden cameras videotape the scene, and the focus is on whether or not bystanders intervene, and how. Variations are also usually included, such as changing the genders, the races or the clothing of the actors performing the scene, to see if bystanders react differently. The host appears at the end to interview the bystanders about their reactions. As the experiment goes on, psychology professors, teachers, or club members watch and discuss the video with the host, explaining and making inferences on the bystanders' reactions. Often times, people stand by and do nothing. Society seems to be more and more afraid to speak up, stand up and do what's right.
Why is that? Are we so afraid to get involved of the risk of putting ourselves out there? So afraid that we will watch wrongs being done all around us without saying a word about it for fear of getting involved? Or is it that we feel that we are too insignificant to make a difference? What is it that we are afraid of? Why do we shy away, no, run away from the opportunity to do what is right, or to speak out against what is wrong?
Walking down your street, at your place of employment, at a baseball game, or literally anywhere you go - do you shy away from the chance to help someone that might need it? Do you choose silence over speaking out against the wrongs that you see and hear every day? Because maybe it's 'easier' to not get involved?
I confess, I have. There have been many times when someone has approached me and asked for money because they say they have none, and I've turned them down flat. Maybe they are going to use it to buy booze or drugs. Or maybe they are just scheming to get money the easy way. But what if? What if this person has a legitimate need for this money, and asking strangers for it is how desperate they've become to get whatever they can? What if they have children they are simply trying to feed? Wouldn't it be better to give them a few dollars on the chance that they really do need the money, than to say no and risk snuffing out the one little glimmer of hope in humanity that they have left? Or at the very least, offer to take them somewhere and buy them lunch? I am telling you here and now that I am usually the one who says no and walks away. But are they seeing God's light shine when I do that?
What is frustrating to me (and to many others I'm sure) is when there is blatant and obvious wrongdoing going on, and the person(s) committing the acts are left alone. Further, when the people around them know what they are doing, yet continue to interact with them as though no wrong was committed. On the one hand, we're not supposed to judge. That's up to God. But the Bible says that when you see a wrong being done to not just let it go. It does say to forgive them, but also to talk with them about it. Matthew 18:15 says "If your brother sins go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed."
Wouldn't this crazy mixed up world be a much better place if we let our conscience be our guide? If, when we see wrongdoing, we do something about it? Not vigilante type justice, but a calm and thoughtful response to a situation that might help stop it in its tracks. Or, at the very least, slow it down by letting people know that you are not the type to just stand idly by and watch. Are those of us who have stood by and watched perhaps more guilty than those doing the wrongs, simply by our inaction? I don't know. I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty or even bad. The point of this post is actually to challenge myself to stop being silent. To speak up, not in a judging way, but in a loving and thoughtful way. To not stand by and watch injustice take place without so much as a blink of any eye. I'm not sure if I'm up to the challenge, but I'm going to try. Who's with me?