If something is wrong, then not only must I not do it, I must—if I can—stop others from doing it. If I fail to do so, then I share in the guilt. Nowadays, we would call this the guilt of the bystanders.
It is obvious to me that the perpetrators are far more guilty than any bystanders, yet if all of the bystanders in history stood up, many of the horrible events of our past could have been avoided.
The Holocaust, for example; had the bystanders stood up for what’s right, and spoken out and condemned Hitler and the Nazis, we may have avoided the amount of senseless death, pain, and suffering that occurred.
Let’s look at October 7th; would that have been avoided if bystanders had stood in the way of Hamas, or for that matter, informed against Hamas?
We can all agree that if we see someone harming another person i.e. beating an innocent person, robbing, trying to assault them etc. then it would be wrong to remain silent and not help.
Yet it’s when we tell ourselves “what difference can we make” that we justify and rationalize being a bystander.
We can always make a difference, each and every one of us, even when it’s not obvious, even when we think we won’t. Worst case scenario, we aren’t silent and therefore aren’t seen as condoning atrocious acts or being complicit in them.
This week, let’s find ways to speak up as to what is wrong. Let’s not stand by and pretend to think we are innocent bystanders.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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