Saturday, March 3, 2012

Taking a Stand Against the Bystander Mentality (& Sean Astin's #Run3rd)

We're all too familiar with those terrible cases of people turning a blind eye to desperate emergencies, not wanting to "get involved."  One particularly infamous example of this involved the murder of Kitty Genovese in New York on March 13, 1964.  Supposedly, as many as 38 people watched from their windows at this woman was raped and murdered.  (The murderer actually left and returned later to finish her off where she was lying by a locked door.)  Tragically, there are many other examples of this same sort of apathy to evil and pain.

Things only seem to be getting worse.  There's a tendency these days to live in isolation from others.  Like I pointed out in The Connection Illusion, electronic communication may indeed bring us closer to those who are physically removed from us, but it also moves us further away from those in our daily circle--family, friends, and co-workers.  It helps to create a bubble around us, separating us from those beside us on the journey, distracting us from those we love.

Don't let this false sense of separation move you to become a bystander when you're called upon to help.  While I don't always succeed at this, if someone needs my assistance, I try to do what's necessary.  If I witness something wrong, I am going to get involved.  If this places friendships or livelihood in jeopardy, so be it.    

Recently, something particularly tragic happened to a relative which really brought this issue to my heart.  If you encounter someone in a seriously bad place, take a moment to get involved and put yourself out there to help the person.  If you fail to act, you may live to deeply regret your unwillingness to get involved.  I urge you not to care about what people may say or think.  Instead, do what's right.  

After all, you should do unto others as you would have them do to you.  The parable of the Good Samaritan is a strong reminder of what is expected of us as followers of Christ.  Are we doing all we can for those suffering around us, or are we living within that bubble of isolation?  Of course there are many ways to get more involved.  

Usually, getting involved means little things that we do: asking a co-worker if everything is okay, returning a purse left behind on a seat, assisting in a medical situation, etc, but I wanted to single out Sean Astin's latest project, #Run3rd for some hearty Kudos.  It's refreshing to see a popular actor doing and focusing on something greater than himself.  So much of Hollywood is sadly out of touch with reality, but Sean always seems to be well-grounded in his approach to life, family, and his work in motion pictures.  I've always had a lot of respect for Sean, and I applaud him in this latest effort of giving a voice to those too often forgotten in our society and world.  Some negative readers will likely write me to assert that Sean's latest project is a meaningless action tied to self-promotion, but the more I think about it, the more I think Sean might just be onto something.    

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