Fear of Looking Foolish

If a stranger walked past you in public, do you think you would notice if he crossed your path a second time, but wearing different clothes?

Sometimes on TV or in movies a character will try different tactics in order to sneak by security guards. Patients walk out of asylums by changing into clothing brought by a visitor. Criminals gain access to restricted areas by pretending to be someone they’re not. And we often think that could never happen in real life, that people would be paying attention. But the truth is, people don’t pay attention enough to justify questioning someone who looks to be sneaking into a restricted area. There may be some level of suspicion, but unless you’re absolutely certain, it’s not enough to overcome the fear of being wrong and looking foolish as a result.

How often do people simply transport a kidnapped child from place to place because no one is willing to inquire into what they’re doing? How often do people look the other way when a human trafficking victim solicits them for sex?

What if you did question them?

What are the consequences of being wrong in your suspicion?

What are the consequences of not asking at all?

Weighing the two types of consequences against each other reveals that a person is not foolish for inquiring into suspicious activity. Rather, the more foolish choice is to ignore such activity out of a desire to avoid discomfort. We allow our pride to take precedence over someone else’s life. We choose our ego and comfort over what could potentially be a life or death situation. We tell ourselves, ‘It’s probably nothing,’ and hope for the best.

I know there are plenty of people willing to step up and follow their intuition, which has truly saved countless lives. But for every person who steps up, there are many others who cower away.

Let us never care so much about ourselves that we hold our pride above the wellbeing of others. I challenge you all to put your phones down while you’re out so that you can experience the present moment. Open your eyes to the world around you. It just might save a life.

To God be the Glory!


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