In Not So Fast, I wrote a chapter about slowing down enough to care, wondering if we’re going so fast that we struggle to show compassion, speeding right past people in need.
In it, I reflected on a famous study done in the 1970s in which seminary students who volunteered to participate were divided into groups that were put in a low-, medium- or high-hurry situation. Half the students were given the task of preparing a message on the story of the Good Samaritan and half were asked to prepare a message about something else unrelated to the parable.
The variable that made the biggest difference—bigger, even, than the subject matter of their messages—was the level of hurry.
Very few of the high-hurry students bothered to stop.
Following the basic idea of the original study, ABCNews created a similar scenario (click here to learn more) using actors and hidden cameras.
If I were in the same situation as those women—by myself, in a big city park where no other people were around—I know I’d be nervous to stop and help a moaning, weeping man.
I like to think I’d muster up enough courage to do something. Even if I just tracked down a police officer to assist.
But I don’t know. The results of the original study and this simplified ABC project suggest I won’t.
Lord, I don’t want to miss an opportunity to help just because I’m rushed. Please slow me down and give me a big heart.