“Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”
When an accident or medical emergency happens, there are two types of witnesses, those that stop to help and those that stand back and watch. When individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim while other people are present, it is referred to as the Bystander Effect. This is a social psychological phenomenon that is inversely related to the number of people present. The more people around, the less likely it is that someone will help.
The level of responsibility that a bystander feels is dependent on three things:
The person decides what they will do in one of three ways:
We see this effect within the Scripture through the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. Jesus Christ tells this parable to an inquisitive lawyer admonishing him to help his neighbor. We can see examples of all three ways of intervention within this story. The priest saw the wounded man, and crossed the street to avoid him. The Levite came by and looked upon his wounds, then passed by as well, perhaps going to go get help. Then the Samaritan came to where he was and had compassion on him, bounding up his wounds and taking him to the inn to heal.
We are all bystanders most of the time. No, we may not witness an accident or medical emergency right before our eyes on a regular basis, but we see people all throughout the day that are lost and on their way to spend eternity in a place prepared for Satan himself, yet what do we tend to do? We pass by them. “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?”
We neglect getting directly involved most of the time, and detour the responsibility to just those who are “called” to do the job…pastors and missionaries. We tell the “first responders”, but then we sit back and watch from the sidelines. Detour intervention is not an excuse. We are all called to proclaim the Truth of the Gospel. It is time we ourselves get involved, and do our part to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world. Jesus commanded all of us to go & tell others.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…”
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
If we are honest, we are all guilty of the Bystander Effect. When will we realize that we may be the only person who can reach a particular person with the Gospel? Are we going to pass them by? It is nothing to us?
Lord, help us to reach them before it is eternally too late.
I Chronicles 27-29 | II Thessalonians 1 | Proverbs 8
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