Thursday, February 18, 2010

Acknowledging the Apathy Within

I can't do much to change the apathy I encounter in others; there are no guarantees at the least.  Only God can change the heart, but I can do something about the apathy I encounter in myself and boy have I been apathetic!  Without even knowing it I have lived a very selfish sinful American life.  From the moment I wake up in the morning I am consumed by thoughts of I.  What do I want to wear today?  Do I want to wear the red shirt or the dark blue?  What am I in the mood for?  What do I want to eat for breakfast?  What will I do for lunch?  Do I feel like having a panini or maybe I want a wrap?  What do I feel like doing after work?  What do I want to do this weekend?  I, I, I.  Selfishness has been embedded into my lifestyle.  I don't have a spouse.  I don't have any children.  I don't have any elderly parents who are dependent on me for care so from day-to-day I often don't think about how my decisions and the choices I make affect other people: the people around me and the people I'll never meet but who are affected by what I do nevertheless.

I am a very sheltered American and quite honestly I have lived a life divorced from the suffering of others.  I've been in a fog, largely thinking only of myself and the earthquake in Haiti changed all that.  I have been shaken by an earthquake that took place over a thousand miles away.  I have been shaken out of my apathy and for that I am grateful.  My eyes have been opened and the fog has been lifted.  To live a life unto oneself is to live a very small life indeed.  To live your life in such a way as if no one else exists, can that even be called living?  Jesus was never apathetic. He was constantly being moved with compassion by the suffering of others.  If I continue to live a selfish, sheltered, apathetic life as a Christian then who am I following really?  Can I even be called a Christian at all?

The earliest believers were called "Followers of the Way".  They weren't just known for what they believed but for how they lived their lives.  Today many of us have reduced Christianity to a set of personal beliefs about Jesus.  Quite frankly I don't care what your beliefs about Jesus are as much as I am concerned about how those beliefs change the way you go about living.  Hungry people aren't fed by our beliefs.  Suffering people aren't comforted by our nice thoughts about Jesus.  I think it's time for ALL of us to acknowledge the apathy within and to make a conscious decision to change the way we live our lives to better reflect the light and love of Christ.  If we do nothing about the apathy within then I believe that Jesus remains a stranger we have never met and we should just stop calling ourselves Christians altogether.

Following the Way,

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