C’mon, take a guess before you peek at the answer
“If you see a person who’s obviously in need — someone begging at the next stoplight, or someone ill prepared for freezing, wet weather — or you hear about someone who’s unable to afford their medications or the surgical procedure they need to save their life, how do you respond?”
“Do you look the other way? Ignore the beggar? Pretend that homeless guy isn’t actually sleeping outdoors in this weather? Move on to the next update on your FB screen?”
“Do you want to help but…but you’re saving for your retirement, or you’re going to need that extra money for that new iPhone, or for the insurance on your new car?”
“Do you think there are just so many needy people, it’s overwhelming to the point that you can’t justify helping this one, right here, right now. It’s just easier to pretend they’re not here, that you don’t really see them.”
“Do you think (probably to yourself) that most of these people are just lazy and dumb and what you’re seeing is the result of their own bad choices? Sorry, dude or dudette, but you made your own bed and now you need to lie in it.”
Before I reveal the source of these questions, can I ask if you consider yourself a Christian or Jewish? How about Buddhist, or Muslim? Do you consider yourself spiritual or religious? Do you go to church weekly? Did you go to church or temple or mosque weekly as a child?
Do you believe in God? How about karma?
Do you think of yourself as normal? Typical, really, of almost everyone you know? Is anyone in your social circle dramatically different from you? In terms of social class, I mean.
Do you consider yourself fortunate or blessed or just really smart and completely responsible for all of your success?
Did you answer each of these?
time to reveal the source…
“If we are rich and see others in need, yet close our hearts against them, how can we claim that we love God? Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.”
That’s from the Bible, 1 John 3:17-18.
As we look forward to spending our new tax cut, while wondering at how little difference we actually see, as we complain about the high price of gasoline, and sales taxes, and our (literally) crumbling roads and infrastructure, I just thought it might be useful to consider that every major religion worldwide talks about how we treat the poor.
Every single one!
I was raised Christian. My parents were missionaries so I grew up in Malaysia, a Muslim nation.
My father’s church in Petaling Jaya sat right next to a Buddhist temple, and I often played soccer with, or just talked to, the monks.
Jesus Christ did not want you and I to be wealthier. You can’t find that anywhere in any Bible.
I don’t know what you believe about God and religion but I know atheists who protest our increasingly harsh treatment of the poorest in our nation.
I do believe in God, and if you do too, how do you suppose God’s grading our actions?
How about the actions of the government we elected?
It always takes courage to stand up and speak out, especially if it separates us from those whose opinions are important to us.
It doesn’t matter what city your station is in. Every city has problems housing and caring for the desperately poor and the mentally ill.
That presents an opportunity for the fearless personalities in our business, an opportunity to do well (ratings) by choosing to do good (content).
You don’t have to be a Bible-thumper, or an Imam, or a monk. You don’t have to preach.
You only have to recognize the obvious and take a personal stand to try to help.
This isn’t about religion, it’s about our common humanity.
Just do what’s right, what you would hope for if you were sleeping on the streets, hungry and cold and desperate.
It’s as simple as that, isn’t it? Choosing to notice and do what’s right.
Make it personal; it’s easier to care about one really sick child in your city than hundreds being bombed in Syria.
Make it local. Make it about your community, not a company-wide effort. Invest some of your reputation in the outcome.
Give your listeners a way to help too, because someone listening to your voice is waiting for a leader, for you, your courage, to stand.
Do you believe that’s possible?
Do you believe that might actually cause some listeners to bond more personally with you?
Do you believe you — YOU — by trying to help one needy person, might start something that changes your city and your own life for the better?
Guess we’ll never know until you listen to your heart and rise…