There is an old Beatles tune that starts out with a question; “What would you do if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me”? As I sat, watching the behavior of strangers around me, I wondered about the line between being present and leaving when it comes to my friends. Where do I draw it? Does this question have a “should” instead of “do” that is different?
The setting was an evening where friends were out on the town. The behavior range ran from subdued to artificially hyper, nervous to confident and aggressive, and everything else that I could imagine. Young and old, bling and no bling, people were out enjoying themselves and the scene. As the evening progressed, the behaviors changed to in control and out. A variety of both ends of the spectrum were present, not much could be seen in the middle.
The good news for individuals in Singapore is that there is a spirit of care. On one extreme, three friends were trying to maneuver a forth along the taxi queue to the pick-up point. I am sure a few in the vicinity had some negative thoughts. However, I did not hear them. I did see people lend a hand when it was needed. I did see conversations with friends that were supportive.
As I reflected on what I would do, three questions kept rolling over in my mind. Would I help? If so, how far would I be willing to go? What would need to happen in order for me to get involved?
One advisor said that “you shouldn’t act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory.” (1 Corinthians 5.11) I get the first part, but how far into their lives was he suggesting we go?
On this night, the answer was no limits. Support, accountability, compassion, forgiveness, and mercy were comingled in the relationships between friends.