31 January 2013

When Silence Becomes Evil

Words To Live By
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”[i]

Many Religions Stand on Common Ground 
Over 2,000 years ago, a parable was spoken that would change the lives of billions of people. It will forever be the launching pad to all subsequent ideologies; the framework of moral and ethical religious standards.

The words Jesus uttered that special day would fill the books of history as the greatest anthology of human interest and endeavors. As you will see, this story vividly illustrates crucial and instructive insights; principles that all religions hold dear, almost as if they were a part of their own genetic makeup.

It is my hope that as you read the following parable, you are able to sketch yourself into the setting of the story, evaluate the life you have lived thus far, and reconcile your accounts, if needed. You may want to ask yourself if you are you willing to change yourself in the future.

Without further ado, I introduce you to a man who was not afraid to stand apart from the crowd—a man with the courage to change…

The Good Samaritan
The Parable of The Good Samaritan
"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee." Luke 10:30-35, KJV

Though there are various meanings and interpretations of this story (Luke 10: 30-35, KIV), the significance of “what was nice and what was not nice” can even be understood by a child.

The Significance of an Innocent Child
Children are regarded as harmless and precious beings, nestled in the heart of each ethical and moral being. A child would never intentionally harm with evil intent. It is when we have grown into adults that we regrettably learn prejudices and selfishness. By our own moral standards, today we are faced with a choice to make the judgment that no good man would ever, “pass by the other side” of a child in need.

However, that was not the case in our modern society as indicated by the comparison of the historical account of the Good Samaritan and the Good Chinese Woman. Below, I have written this Chinese woman’s story, the story of Yue-Yue and Chen Xianmei, fashioning it after the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

The Story of Yue-Yue 
A certain girl went down from Foshan to the Market Street, and fell among thieves, which wounded her, leaving her half dead. And by chance there came down a certain man that way: and when he saw her, he passed by on the other side. And likewise another, when he was at the place, came and looked upon her, and passed by on the other side. But a certain woman, as she journeyed, came where she was: and when she saw her, she had compassion on her. And went to her, and picked her up, and set her upon her folded arms, and bought her to her mother wherein her mother bound up her wounds and showed compassion.

Such is the True Story of Wang Yue.
The video below is very graphic. Will it change who you become in the future?


The Sound of Silence Heard Around the World
About one month after the devastation that took place on September 11, a tragic event of equal value occurred on the other side of the world in China. What happened there “woke up the conscious…of everyone around the world.” (iv)

This is what happened: Mother Qu Feifei was working one day when her two-year-old daughter, Wang Yue (nicknamed Yue Yue) meandered away from home, where they lived in the city of Foshan, in Guangdong province.

The little girl, Yue Yue, unfortunately strolled into a straight, yet narrow, high-traffic market avenue. Hidden cameras recorded the entire event as little Yue Yue wandered into the street. The video of the gruesome event was uploaded via internet almost immediately, and broadcast on television.

These video broadcasts caused a national uproar. The heart-wrenching video showed Yue Yue being run over by a white van. Later it was discovered that a man named Hu Jun was driving that white van. Three people pass by the toddler, and then yet another white van runs over her a second time.

Yue Yue 
Little Yue Yue lay there, dying in the street. People continued to walk past her. In as little as seven minutes, 18 people walked past the dying toddler. Some even stopped to stare. Others swerved their scooters to avoid hitting her while she lay there in death’s pain, bleeding severely—yet did not stop their scooter to assist her.

It was the 19th person, a 57 year-old, illiterate female garbage collector and scavenger, Chen Xianmei, who had to courage to stand apart from the crowd. Who had the courage to change. Who had the courage to stop to help a dying baby.

Such is the Story of Chen Xianmei, a Good Samaritan.
Police were called. Ambulances came. One week later, at 12:32 on Friday, October 18, 2011 little Yue Yue lost her life due to severe brain and organ damage.(v) And such is the story of Yue Yue. Do you hear it? Do you see it? Is this what happens when silence becomes evil?

The L.A. Times Blog Follows Up
Says the Blog, “Chinese journalists have since tracked down many of the 18 people who were shown on the videotape. Most denied seeing the girl, but one woman, who was shown walking by with her own young daughter, admitted that she left quickly because she and her daughter were scared.” (vi)

The Good Samaritan
A Tale of Two Parables 
Although this is just one unfortunate story of many, the similarity of this modern day parable to the Parable of the Good Samaritan is all too familiar. The only difference is that the parable of Jesus was a prescriptive story to show us how to live our lives. The Story of Yue Yue shows us how we really live our lives.

In the story of the the Good Samaritan, the Priest and the Levite passed by on the other side. They remained silent to the truth; therefore, they were consenting to what was done. The Talmud confirms this idea, saying, “When a person has the ability to protest and remains silent, his silence is similar to verbal consent. When you do not say something to disagree, it is as if you agree with what was said or done.” (vii)

With Knowledge Comes Responsibility
The priest and the Levite had knowledge of the crime. It was obvious to them that the man had been robbed and hurt. This knowledge, and their lack of action made the two men accessories to the crime: for the robbers left him for dead, and the Priest and the Levite also adhered to the same thing. Their silence gave consent. In this circumstance, their silence became an intentional act of violence.

Silent Abuse
It has often been said in the field of Psychology, that silence can be used as a form of abuse. It is the toxic behavior commonly called the Silent Treatment. It is a way of placing a person in physical or emotional debt and is a form of debasement and a type of control tactic. For example, an abuser might say to himself, “If I cannot control what is at home, or at the temple, or in my job, then I will control what I can control even if it is to my own detriment.

A Defining Moment for the Priest and the Levite 
The very moment they “passed b the other side,” was the defining moment of their unconscious, or subconscious, relinquishment of spiritual power. This was not an abdication, or conscious handing over of power that we see in the Old Testament with Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and David (viii). This was, to the Priest and the Levite, an informal and unknowing relinquishment of power as defined by the Torah.(ix) Edmond Burke once said this: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” And that is exactly what the so-called good men did: Nothing.

Jonah Did it, Too 
Just like Jonah, the Priest and the Levite avoided the opportunity to serve. To leave, or not to leave, that was the question. And a question Jonah have to answer for himself. Jonah felt that the sinful people of Nineveh deserved the judgments of God, for they were Jonah’s enemy. Jonah also may have felt that, “The Jewish nation [was] superior and better than the Ninevites.”(x)

Jonah’s “passing by the other side” to prevent spiritual help from those wounded by Satan’s temptations is similar to the Priest and the Levite passing by the other side of the man half-dead. Jonah’s silence spoke more loudly than the repented city for which Jonah will be forever known.

The Sound of Courage vs The Sounds of Silence
Which one will you choose. Will you be a Jonah? Will you be a Priest or Levite? Will you be like those 18 people in China, who walked on by? Or will you choose to change? Do you have the courage to stand apart from the crowd? Will you be like Chen Xianmei, and make the sound of courage? Are you ready to break the sound of silence? Can we come together and make that decision right now?

[i] Dietrich Bonhoeffer
[ii] Luke 10:30-35 KJV
[iii] John Calvin, Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke - Volume 3.;  and Caird, G. B. (1980). The Language and Imagery of the Bible. Duckworth. p. 165; Bernard Brandon Scott, Hear Then the Parable: A commentary on the parables of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8006-2481-5, pp. 199-200. ; I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A commentary on the Greek text, Eerdmans, 1978, ISBN 0-8028-3512-0, p. 449-450.; John W. Welch, "The Good Samaritan: Forgotten Symbols", Liahona, Feb. 2007, 26–33.[1]
[iv] Jerrmein Abu Shahba: http://www.islamicinsights.com/news/opinion/lack-of-good-samaritans-caught-on-tape.html
[v] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/9907601
[vi] http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/10/toddlers-death-evokes-outpouring-of-grief-and-guilt.html
[vii] S’forno, Nedarim
[viii] See “A Dedicated Voice, Festschrift in honor of Oscar F. Jesperson, jr. and his 35 years of service to UTC, UVCC and UVSC, Alexander Stecker, “The Abdication of Power in the Old Testament.”
[ix] The Torah states to “love your neighbor,” those in violation of this must face consequences.
[x] http://www.bible-basics-layers-of-understanding.com/Jonah.html

*Edited by Nancy Owens February 2013
Creative Commons License
When Silence Becomes Evil by Michael A. Hickman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


BYU Carpet Cleaner

I carpet clean the Mission Training Center and love the gospel of Jesus Christ. These posts contain my experiences, thoughts and opinions on spiritual things.

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