In case you don’t recognize it, the title of this article is a spin-off from the Shakespearean play “Hamlet” where the famous line “To be or not to be” was birthed.
What would you do?
So, you’re driving down the road on a sunday afternoon having a great time just relaxing in the sun and going for a spin.
As you pass a sidestreet you look that way and see a man attacking a woman. What would you do?
Biblically speaking, from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is full of admonitions to love with instructions to help others in time of need.
1.) Love your neighbor as yourself, Mt. 22:36 – 39
2.) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you Mt. 7:12
3.) The parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10:29-37
The aforementioned story is a true one. It really happened. It happened to the brother of a man who was a co-worker of mine when I was in the military police. He stopped and helped, took a 2×4 to the face, the man and woman left and he went to the hospital alone to begin his facial reconstruction process.
Six considerations before entering the fray
Following are six factors to consider when deciding whether or not you should help someone in need particularly in a violent assault.
1. Perceptions change under stress; especially if you are not accustomed to functioning while under stress, so be purposefully objective as you assess the situation. Location, number of people involved, your physical ability, and other factors all play a part to determine what your level of involvement should be. It could be that the most effective thing you could do would be to call 911.
2. If you are unable to determine if a person needs help, if you can, ask them.
3. If you are not a professional emergency service provider you will not be expected to perform like one. In most cases you will be protected by the Good Samaritan law. But know that any applicable, certifiable training that you have had will probably be examined as well as your actions and motivations.
4. Legal considerations / liability: Unless you are familiar with this kind of thing this may be difficult to assess. Observations of details are practically endless in emergency situations but might include things such as, are firearms or other weapons involved and the many implications of introducing one into an already tense situation. Are there witnesses?
5. Sometimes just making your presence known and, if necessary, yelling “stop” is enough (it worked for me once). It can work: I was functioning as a private person when a professional thug came toward me with not-so-good intentions. I yelled loudly and authoritatively to stop and he did. It was like he hit a brick wall.
6. Risk – physical injury, financial liability, etc.: Are you willing to suffer a potentially significant loss as a potential consequence of helping someone you don’t know?
None of this is intended to prevent you from helping someone in need. As I mentioned before, as followers of the Messiah, we are even instructed to do so.
Rather this information is to intended to help you be “wise as a serpent” when you do help others as led by Holy Spirit.
In our current cultural, political and legal climate, it is important to at least be aware of the potential political, financial, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and legal difficulties involved and how to mitigate them.
Of course, nothing here should be considered as legal advice. If any of these considerations are of concern to you, you might consider speaking with a professional in their area of expertise.
Dr. Rayphe was has been a student of Personal protection, home security, and various aspects of crime prevention for many years. His years of being in military police, a police officer, Pastoring and counseling ministry has provided him with a broader and deeper perspective to these issues. As a Bible based instructor / Coach part of Dr. Rayphe’s ministry is helping God’s people to be prepared.