Monday, November 14, 2011

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke, Irish philosopher and politician

As I continue to process the recent events at my Alma Mater, I have been struck by the many comments related to the belief that more should have been done. If THAT isn't the master understatement! The Penn State Graduate Assistant who witnessed the sexual abuse of a child should have stepped in. And Penn State coach Joe Paterno should have done more as well...even according to his own words, in hindsight. Everyone is stepping up saying that if it was them, they would have said/done more. Good.

However, it sure is easy to SAY we would have acted differently...after all, we weren't in the situation. Again, as I've said in another blog: it's easy to SAY I wouldn't have denied I knew Christ (like Peter did) as He was being abused; it's easy to SAY I would have spoken up if I was in Adam's shoes in the Garden and told the serpent to "beat it" and encouraged my wife to not eat the fruit.'s easy to SAY I would have entered the shower and rescued that child from his alleged abuser. Talk is cheap. How do we forge a character that does the right thing at the right time? We need to be prepared in advance!

I was sent an editorial that ran several years ago, written by a dear sister in Christ in our church family. We would all do well to read it with the Penn State scandal in mind.

"My heart aches for the young generation who watches the suicide of a teen without considering responsibility to rescue. Upon reading the Nov 22, 2008 article by Rasha Madkour, AP “Teen Commits Suicide before Web Audience,” I immediately gathered my teenage sons and spoke to them, urging courage into their lives to step forward when something seems wrong. I committed to be there to help them seek the help that is needed. I assured them that if they see something happening, they ARE involved. Aren’t we all? I took a good hard look at the Levite, the priest and the Samaritan in “The Good Samaritan” of the Bible. I revisited the behavior of on-lookers in New Bedford, MA at Big Dan’s Tavern that birthed the “Duty-To-Rescue” laws. Do I wait for someone else to act? Did Oskar Schindler or Mother Teresa wait for “someone else?” Was it easy for Dr. Martin Luther King to be the “someone else?”

As humans, there is an innate ownership of one another that we carry in our hearts. We all felt it after 9/11. Involvement is messy and inconvenient, sometimes sacrificial. Have we done the same thing these viewers did to the Miami college student who committed suicide… signed off from fellow humans, assuring ourselves that someone else - authority, government, agencies –will rescue...? Possibly the young man, Abraham Biggs, would be alive today receiving the help he so desperately needed if more web-viewers had stepped forward and chosen to become their brother’s keeper."

Well said!

We need to meet with each other, eyeball to eyeball, and commit to each other and to abuse victims and say now, before the situation arises: "No matter what the cost; no matter who is involved; no matter the awkwardness or tension that may arise; I WILL speak up! I WILL act!"

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