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.
Susan DiMickele says
Oh boy, thanks for this. Think this post is for me. The funny thing is that I at least have gotten over the denial stage. I’m even finding myself slowing down during select moments. I just hope I’m not featured on any hidden cameras (I guess God doesn’t need a hidden camera, does He?)
Oooh, this is a tough one, because God also gives you fear to help you be safe. I tend to think more in the track down a police officer mode. I have traveled too much and seen too many things. Thanks for posting this, Ann.
Amy Sullivan says
I’ve read about this study, but the video clip was new for me. Ugh, I’m afraid I wouldn’t stop! I hate that.
Yes, yes, God I am waiting for my “big heart”.
Ann, My husband experienced something similar on the way to work the other day. He happened to glance to the other side of the highway and a car had flipped over onto its roof and the lights were still on and no one was stopping! He immediately dialed 911 and the police were on their way. I ALWAYS stop to help, no matter what. I have even helped two people in medical situations on planes. We are all given gifts in this life, but the biggest one is our caring…Hugs girl!
Oh my! I read about the original study and felt terribly about it. Now this, reconfirming it. (Actually, I am sure it’s worse now.) Lord, help us to slow down enough to reach out!
Yay google is my world beater assisted me to find this outstanding website ! .