I was sitting at the Whitford train station today waiting for my connecting train to arrive and take me home.
Two seats up from me were a young guy and girl probably late teens or 20 at the most. He was kissing her and she didn’t seem that interested – actually it seemed like she was angry with him.
I was writing an email on my laptop while I waited for the train to come.
She began to yell at him – it wasn’t easily intelligible – but I could tell she was unimpressed.
By their body language and her tone I was aware that things could be getting ugly… And I am starting to wonder what if?… What if he hits her? What if a fight starts?
Do I get involved? Do I keep finishing my email?
She got up to leave and he went after her. As she walked away he grabbed her bag and pulled her back. It wasn’t looking good.
It was at this point I made a decision. If he gets violent I will help her… I will do what I can to make sure she doesn’t get hurt. I have never done this before. I have looked away before. It was a conscious choice, a choice that has been informed by previous experience (where I have felt lousy at ‘looking away’) and by my understanding of the gospel.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t like fights. I don’t enjoy hurting people or getting hurt, but in similar situations I have found myself paralysed by not knowing what to do. Its ‘not my issue’, but is it ok to stand by and write an email while someone gets the crap beaten out of them? Is it better to get involved and finish up being someone’s punching bag? Would my actions even make a scrap of difference?
I’m not particularly brave in these situations – I haven’t been in a fight since primary school so I’d probably get clobbered. But I wonder if Jesus would keep typing an email while a woman was getting beaten up?
I wonder if Jesus would see it as not his business?
As he pulled on her bag she yelled at him and drew away. My heart started pumping and I began to wonder if I should pack up my laptop and get ready. I began to wonder if someone might steal my laptop while I was helping…
They both walked back to the seat where they argued for a while. I kept typing… apparently oblivious… The situation defused somehow. Next I knew he was mauling her again and she looked like a willing party. I kept typing…
I felt glad, because this time I had made the decision to help but didn’t have to. I began to wonder though… what if he had been a 6 ft 9 bikie? What if there were half a dozen 6 ft 9 bikies?…
Its not a common situation and in that lies the dilemma. I don’t think every situation calls for the same response either, but the principle of helping someone who is powerless to defend themselves would seem to remain.
When I read the Bible it seems that often those who trusted God in wild situations were taken care of. Think Shadrach and his mates, think David. But I also know of well meaning people who have finished up in hospital because they sought to help someone.
Not my business?…
What do you think?