Don’t do what I just did.
I was standing in the aisle at Walgreens perusing Mother’s Day cards when I heard her. A distressed, elderly woman in tears because she was lost and couldn’t find her way home.
Seeing her distress, my heart surged with compassion and concern.
But what did I do?
Nothing. Instead of lifting my voice or offering a hand, I sifted through each
logical reason excuse while the entire episode played before me. Should I help? Should I say something? Should I get involved? Someone else should probably handle it.
In truth, the store clerk got involved and she likely made it home just fine. But I sure didn’t.
I saw the need. But I didn’t respond to it. And it disturbed me greatly.
Do You Even Notice?
What about you? When you go about your day, do you take time to notice those around you?
How many hurting people do you drive by on your way to work or pass in the grocery store? Do you know your neighbors? Do you even notice them?
Here are 4 excuses that can keep you from noticing and helping those in need. Do any of these resonate with you?
1. I’m Too Busy.
Busyness has become our favorite go-to excuse. We complain about our busy schedule while at the same time wearing it like a badge of self-worth and importance.
Are you too busy to notice the people around you? Too tied to your phone? Do you see interruption as an annoyance or an opportunity? Do you find yourself chanting the mantra, “I would if I wasn’t so busy…”?
Maybe it’s time to rethink the priority list. Saying yes to one thing is saying no to another, so choose wisely. Create a margin for compassion. Ask God how He wants you to respond to each person you come across today!
2. I Don’t Know How.
Many times we shy away from helping others because we feel inadequate or insecure. You may fear failure or possible embarrassment.
But doing something is usually better than doing nothing at all. You have more to offer than you think! Sometimes all it takes is a kind word, a comforting hug, a smile, a text or the offer of your time to make a difference in someone else’s life.
3. I Don’t Need To (someone else will do it).
Did you know that you are less likely to help when you are in a group than when you are alone? Psychology calls it the Bystander Effect. Studies have shown that the presence of others actually influences people to not intervene even while witnessing a crime, emergency or life-threatening situation.
So many people were outraged over the recent incident with United Airlines. Many were upset on the flight, but how many actually got out of their seat to help the mistreated passenger? How many stood up to protect him versus stood by to watch or videotape?
When we take our cues from the crowd, we can fail to recognize a serious need. When no one steps in to help, we assume no help is necessary. Don’t allow the inaction of others to keep you from taking responsibility. Maybe you are the one who is meant to help!
*What I am NOT saying is that you should help the shady guy on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere when you are alone. There are other ways to help when a situation is unsafe, like calling the police or getting the correct people involved.
4. I Don’t Want To.
Let’s just be honest. As much as we don’t want to admit it, one reason we don’t get involved is simply out of selfishness. We just don’t want to. Not my need, not my problem.
But this line of thinking and operating is dangerous. If the majority of your day revolves around your own needs, wants and problems, your love may grow cold.
Jesus said that “because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
Selfishness is a breeding ground for sin. Catering only to yourself will increase your sinfulness and decrease your love for others.
This is why the Bible says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
The number one way to know the depth of your faith is to measure the depth of your love. The Bible makes it absolutely clear that your love for others is a direct result of your salvation and walk with God. How do I know? Jesus said it Himself. “By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Your love is a by-product and sign of a vibrant relationship with Him.
The temperature of your love is up to you. So don’t let it grow cold and dim until it extinguishes altogether. Cultivate and grow your love by noticing the needs around you and engaging in the lives of others!
Share Your Experience!
Have any of these resonated with you? What needs have you noticed lately? How can you respond to those around you this week?
Take time to notice someone in need today. Ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Who can help today?
- What does he/she need right now?
- What can I do to meet that need or who else can I get involved to help?
Then head over to our Facebook page and leave a comment! Share the needs you noticed and what you did to respond. Let’s love those around us and encourage each other this week!
Will You Notice and Respond?
One thing we humans will never run out of? Needs. So let’s help each other out. Don’t let fear, excuses or selfishness deter you from caring for your fellow man.
We need each other, after all!