‘Persecution is an enemy the Church has met and mastered many times;

indifference could prove to be a far more dangerous foe.’

from God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors

In my life, I can see how true this has been. Imho, indifference is one of the West’s biggest problems. We are indifferent towards our families, indifferent towards our communities, indifferent towards the environment, indifferent towards the poor, indifferent towards the lost and suffering. We justify it to ourselves, and the justifications sound good. They seem plausible, sensible even, sometimes. But Jesus taught us that the very last thing we should be is indifferent. Apathy, indifference, whatever you want to call it, is at least as destructive as ‘active’ evil. Indeed, indifference could easily be described as a ‘passive’ form of evil. Yet however you dress it up, evil is still evil. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a preacher, or a missionary, or a theologian, or [insert worthy calling of choice]. Jesus says that even a cup of water to someone who is thirsty, if it is done in His name, makes us part of His kingdom.

The people ask, “Why should we fast if the Lord never notices? Why should we go without food if he pays no attention?” [notice the rationalisation of indifference]

The Lord says to them…“The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives…’

extract from Isaiah 58:3-7 (GNT)

4 thoughts on “Indifference

  1. I hear you and I do agree to a large extent… but (as I suspect you would too) I’d always put in the caveat that we don’t serve out of compulsion, guilt, or fear of the consequences of not serving. “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing” (to misquote from memory!).

    I often refer to the Sheep & Goats story where the entry to the Kingdom is not based on holding the right beliefs or praying the right prayer, but simply on how we’ve treated others – like the cup of water you mention. But to truly notice and care about the suffering of others enough to act is no easy proposition.

    So it’s always a tricky balance isn’t it – how to follow Christ’s incredibly demanding call, yet not end up with it as a crushing burden (after all, Jesus does say his burden is meant to be light). It surely all has to be about love in the end, which is the true opposite of indifference. None of us can yet love perfectly or consistently, but with Christ living in us we’ve started on the journey.

    • Absolutely right. Well said. To do things out of guilt or a sense of obligation is the stuff of co-dependency – and I’ve had my fill of co-dependency. If I start to worry about this sort of thing,about all the brokenness in the world, I remind myself that God didn’t send me to save the world; Jesus already did that!

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