Called To Be: Justice Seeking and Compassionate
The Bystander Effect occurs when there are groups of people who observe troubling behavior: the more people there are to witness a crime, the less likely they are to intervene: “they aren’t intervening, maybe I shouldn’t either.”
The fact of the matter is that we are very capable of not doing the right thing. It seems we have an unrelenting self-interest that stands in constant tension with our most natural and authentic self. Our faith tells us we are made in the image of God, so we are, in fact, capable of deep and sacrificial love, like the love Jesus had for humanity. So how do we help nurture our capacity to “suffer with” others, to have compassion, to even “take some of the blows” for others?
This morning’s text proposes a dichotomy in human behavior. To one group of disciples Jesus says, “When I was hungry you fed me.” To the other group he says, “When I was hungry you gave me no food.” Why the difference? There is no question that both groups of disciples knew what is right, so why were some not able to do what is right?