Sorry, Busy Doing Nothing

Video Posted on Updated on

WARNING: The video I’ve posted today is graphic. It contains some real, violent situations. I encourage you to watch it, regardless. I pray it will leave you a little more self-reflective. I know it did to me.

“You know, I’d love to help you but I’m busy doing this thing with this guy at this place. Yeah. Sorry.”

Everybody love the story of the Good Samaritan. You know – guys gets mobbed, left to die. Religious leaders pass by and ignore him. Politicians pass by and ignore him. In fact the only guy who cares about this dude is a low-life Samaritan. This guys stops. He helps the guys who got mobbed. He takes him to an inn, gets him patched up, and makes sure the guys has food to eat. We love this story because we all like to see ourselves as that Samaritan.

But you are NOT that Samaritan.

Trust me, I’d like to think that too, but I’M not that Samaritan. Statistically speaking, when we see someone in need, we will pass by them and ignore their problem. This grotesque human phenomenon is called “the bystander effect.”

It’s especially bad when we are busy. These two researches by the name of Darley and Batson recreated the Good Samaritan story in 1973 with Princeton Theological Seminary students no less. They had the students go from point A to point B in a hurry. As they did, the students passed by a guy who needed help. Did they help? Overwhelmingly, no. Only 10% offered to help! These are religious students no less. And it doesn’t stop there. The bystander effect is worse when we are with others. A study by some smart folks (Latane and Rodin are their names, 1963 was the year) found that only 40% of people in groups would stop to help in an emergency situation. That’s less than half.

Humans – we kinda suck.

Hence the video this week. We all would like to think we are that good Samaritan, but we aren’t. The video today is real proof of this and I post it for this reason – what kind of love are we sharing if THIS is what we are doing everyday? Answer: We aren’t sharing any kind of love.

It’s not easy to break out of this bystander effect, either. I’m aware of that. But here are some ways to make a change for the better:

  1. Get some guts. Break out. When you see injustice, don’t assume someone else will take care of it. They won’t. If you don’t help, no one will.
  2. Don’t be afraid to stand alone. The effect is worse in groups. Sometimes, doing the right thing means standing alone.
  3. NOTHING is more important than helping someone who needs it. No meeting is more important, no text is as urgent, and no spreadsheet is as vital as helping someone out. To know someone breathed easier because you lived today is to know you’ve truly lived.

And lastly, hold each other to a higher standard. If you see me passing by a situation I should be stopping at, throw a shoe at me.

Love is about doing the right thing, even if it costs you your life. This world needs a little more love. Why not give it a little bit more of your life today?

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