On my way to work earlier this week, I experienced something that was really disturbing. It happened while waiting for a bus to leave from Wyndham Vale Station. There was a group of teenagers, all about 14 years old, sitting at one of the bays, waiting for their bus to arrive. An old lady was standing there, waiting for the same bus and not one of them even thought of offering her their seat. Instead they were using the vilest language as if it were normal to call one another disgusting names as a joke.
Three of them then proceeded to board the bus that I was on. The bus driver had left the door open as he went into the station building. While he was away, these hooligans were hitting against the windows, swinging from the handles (broke one) and showed no consideration for any of the other passengers. The ridiculous thing is that those people who pay to use public transport in Melbourne and surrounds, are mostly acting respectful and doing the right thing. Why should our commutes be made unpleasant by those who aren’t even paying to use the service? They shouldn’t even be on the buses or trains, let alone act like idiots when they do board.
As shocking as that is, that was not the most disturbing part. What bothers me most is that I remained silent. I knew it was wrong for them to use that type of language around people, yet I did nothing. I knew their behaviour was damaging property that my tax money is paying for, but I remained silent. I became part of the crowd of good people who remain silent while evil is happening in the world. I feel disappointed in myself that I wasn’t the one who spoke up. The problem is that everyone remains silent when people act like that. That allows law-abiding citizens to suffer at the hands of delinquents, letting them get away with it. If people aren’t held responsible for their actions, they will continue to push the boundaries and see how far they can step over the line; especially young people.
If God, who created us, talks about this concept, then who are we to turn a blind eye to it. Grace doesn’t mean we can continue to act as we please because God has forgiven us. Grace doesn’t mean that we can turn a blind eye to what others are doing and just let it go. The wages of sin is death, and even after accepting Jesus into our lives, we are continuously in a process of sanctification. We are called to love our neighbour, and that includes teenagers who act disgustingly. Reprimanding and discipline is an act of love when done correctly. It’s helping a person turn back from the cliff of destruction, to a plane of opportunity.
We tend to turn a blind eye to people acting up around us, to the poverty in the world, to orphans, to widows and to millions of people starving to death every year. When we do that, we have become a part of the problem. We need to speak up and act, not in self-righteousness, but in love.