I think we all think that we are better than we really are. We would like to believe that given a moral dilemma, we would rise to the occasion and do the right thing, no matter the consequence. We are also quick to damn those who fail in such real life instances, because it is obvious that anyone who had a heart would…STOP!
But, if you really think about it, would you stop?
You’re walking down a road, and you hear a girl screaming. It is very dark, but the dim lighting gives you enough view to know that she is being gang-raped by at least five men! Would you stop? You might if you were a guy, maybe a tough guy. Maybe you’d cry out for help or call the police and try to intervene. But, what if you live in a corrupt society like Nigeria, and the police will not readily come? If you were in your car driving by, would you stop?
You’re taking a stroll through the park one evening, with your partner. A disheveled man approaches you, stinking and unstable on his feet. He begs of you to help him! Your partner pulls you away, and advises you not to pay attention that he’s just drunk, and he’ll use your change to do drugs. Would you stop? What if you do stop, and the man wants to talk to you…but he’s not very coherent. Maybe he doesn’t want money, but he needs somewhere to sleep and some food. Would you stop? Your partner is getting more and more anxious because it’s getting dark. Who would you listen to?
You’re driving along to the supermarket, and you take your eyes off the road for an instant. You hit someone in that same instant, and it sounds like they were badly hurt. Would you stop? Maybe you would, because they could be alive, and you could still save their life by calling an ambulance. But what if you where you lived, it is a real possibility that people would immediately throw a car tyre over your body, as you stopped to attend to the victim, and set you alight with kerosene? What if you wouldn’t get a fair trial and you would likely spend your days in prison, at the mercy of other criminals? Would you stop knowing that it may be your death, though the victim may yet live?
These are three different circumstances that people need our help. They need us to stop and do something. Sometimes we tell ourselves we will do something, but we walk away and soon forget that they needed us. We may plan to come back with reinforcement, then change our minds after we make the call to the police. We may decide to give to a charity that is working to help the homeless, but then our paycheck comes, and the money isn’t enough. We may decide to report the incident, but when we get home and meet our family, their advice to keep it hidden and protect oneself from scandal and punishment may hinder us from doing what we put off…
These tests of our character are few, but essential. They reveal our true nature. There are few who would pass these tests. The truth is most people would not stop, no matter how many say they would.
There may be many wise reasons not to stop. You may feel powerless…that you too may become a victim…that you have loved ones to protect. But I think Jesus would stop.
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