1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NIV)
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
John Darley and Daniel Batson are two Princeton University psychologists. Some years ago they decided to conduct a study, inspired by the story of the Good Samaritan. They conducted the study at Princeton Theological Seminary.
They met with a group of seminarians and asked each one to prepare a short talk on a given theme. Then they would walk individually to a nearby building to present it. Along the way to the presentation each student would run into a man who was planted in an alley. He would be lying there, moaning & groaning in pain. The question was who would stop to help the man.
Darley and Batson asked half of the seminarians to give their talk on ministry opportunities available for students after graduation. The other half was asked to prepare a short devotional on the story of the Good Samaritan.
Also, the researchers wanted to find out if being in a hurry made any difference to the students. So they told one third of the group that they had plenty of time to get to the building to give their talk so they could take their time. Another third was told that they would just make it in time if they left right now. And the last third was told that they were already late-they'd better get moving immediately!
In other words, the experimenters put a third of their subjects in a "low hurry" situation; a third in a "intermediate hurry" situation; and a third in a "high hurry" situation. So, which ones offered to help the man in pain? It turned out that it made no significant difference whether the student was giving a talk on job opportunities or the Good Samaritan.
What did make a difference was how much of a hurry he was in. Of the "low hurry" subjects, 63% offered help; of the "intermediate hurry" subjects, 45% offered help; and of the "high hurry" students, only 10% offered help.
The experimenters concluded that the study would seem to indicate that bystander apathy is encouraged not only by the crowding in today's world but also by the rush of big-city life as contrasted with the more leisurely pace of smaller towns.
In our "hurry-up world" it is easy to excuse why we don't help others. So let's slow down.
Dear Lord, we ask you today to help us slow down and see the people who really need Your kindness today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.