Society vs. Integrity

Hey friends. I’m sure everyone at AppState has heard the news by now of the terrible death that occurred in White Hall this month. This news made me seriously analyze who I am and what I stand for as a Christian. I want to go ahead and establish that I have been mentally well throughout this event, but keep the girls on the fourth floor of my dorm and the girl’s family in your thoughts and prayers, for I know that they are struggling. This is a video I made as a response, and all I ask is for you to be mindful of your own actions. If you would rather read my dialogue, I have it written below.

“Rumor has it that today a girl on the fourth floor of my dorm committed suicide around 2 p.m. This was so unexpected. I never would have thought that while I was happily sitting in my room, a girl only two floors above me was in the process of killing herself. Wow. I didn’t know her, but I think that is what astounds me. I didn’t know her. How many people do I see every single day that I just blindly or ignorantly pass by? I probably came into contact with the girl upstairs before, but I never made good conversation, nor did I make any attempt to be a friend or see into her heart.

I know it isn’t my fault she died, but what if I could have been the reason she lived? I texted my friend Andrew about this and his response was, “You can’t save everyone.” I know I can’t save everyone, but what if I was able to save her? No one would have noticed if she had lived. It takes death and misfortune to draw people’s attention. No one wanted to rejoice in her living, but everyone wanted to mourn when she took her own life. What if I could have rejoiced in her living, during the times when she decided against death?

Our society has two major rules that occasionally conflict with each other. In psychology this is called the “bystander effect“. Here is a video that better explains what this is, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSsPfbup0ac, but the bystander effect is basically ignoring people in need because everyone thinks that someone else will help. One rule is to do the right thing. The other rule is to do what everyone else is doing. The majority of people, and this has been proven, choose conformity over integrity. When there is a man lying on the crowded streets, moaning and crying for help, most people LOOK and KEEP WALKING. They see him! The man asked for help, they saw him, and they completely ignored him!

Obviously, there are some parallels between this psychology study and the Good Samaritan story, but what if the suffering wasn’t so obvious? What if the man was silent, was not on the street, but walking with the crowd, and seemed to have no visible injuries? Are we accountable then? Is it all right to pretend that everyone is happy then?

The truth is, everyone has problems. Pretending like everything is fine in the world is just an unspoken conformist lie that society tells themselves to keep from “getting involved.” It is what we tell ourselves. It is what we tell other people. ‘Our lives are too busy to talk to people.’ ‘We are too busy for new friends.’ That is what we tell ourselves. In comparison to caring for the sick, wounded man, how hard is it to say ‘hello’ and ask ‘How are you doing today?……… No, how are you really doing.’ Not hard at all actually. If I had actually paid attention to the people around me, if I had actually stood out from the normal, do you think I could have saved her? More rationally and more practically, if I had even acknowledged that she was there; if I had actually talked to her, do you think she would have felt just a little bit more human? Do you think she would have felt just a little bit less forgotten?

There are so many easy ways to be the Good Samaritan. I don’t want to conform to the apathy anymore. People, no matter their appearance, have real hearts and real problems tucked away beneath their conformity suits. We look so professional, so put together. Why? Because it is what everyone else is wearing.

Let’s be naked. Let’s expose ourselves as Christians who care and who witness the good news that the Almighty Father love each and every son and daughter with an undying, unchainable, unacceptable in our society, passion. By standing still in a crowd of hustling people, we can stick out. We can realize that all of those hustling people are hustling because they are fearfully, anxiously, desperately running away from their problems and pain and they do it because everybody else is doing it.

Christians, you can’t save everyone, but you can lead people to the one who can. Don’t pretend like you don’t notice people. You aren’t blind; you just have your eyes closed! Let me say that again. You aren’t blind; you just have your eyes closed. It isn’t your fault that people die, but what if you could be the reason that someone lived?”

Blessings,

-Jordan

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