BYSTANDER EFFECT

The end of the semester is already just 2 weeks away. You know what that means. Final projects, papers and exams. Sounds like fun right?

Today in our social psychology class it was final group presentation day. We all chose different topics and did research and presented it to the class. It was actually pretty interesting because each group had to do an activity or social experiment for the class on their topic.

One of the groups did their presentation on the bystander effect.

“The bystander effect, or bystander apathy, is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders.”

The activity they had the class do was really eye opening. They had all of us sit in the same row of desks. On the black board in front of the room they drew a stick figure yelling “help”. So the objective was to move up three rows to get to the guy. They asked us a series of questions, if your answer was yes you could move up a row but if you answered no you had to move back a row. The questions were for example, have you stopped to help a car that was stranded on the side of the road in the past year? Have you given money to the church or any charity/organization in the past months? If you have seen a homeless person in the past months did you have a conversation with them? etc.

No one in the class succeeded, including myself. I was mind blown. It was hard to accept but the reality was I play a part in the bystander effect in my daily life. I don’t help or reach out to people in need. I always think that someone else will help that person trying to change a spare tire or moving boxes from their car. But I don’t push myself to be the helping hand all the time.

Then the group started reading various bible verses about how we are called to help the needy. How God has given us the responsibility and duty to be there for others when no one else is. To ultimately act in love and compassion with a merciful heart wherever we are. Not only in the church.

All this really was eye opening for me. Caused me to take a step back and really think about how I act and live my life out in society. I was truly convicted. But I am so thankful for this experience today. It has encouraged, challenged and reminded me of the servant of God I must be. To live out the love that God has given me. To be the change. To be that one person who stands up to lend a helping hand. Why? Because that is what Jesus did.

I saw God today.

Did you?

 

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