lack of enthusiasm or energy: lack of interest in anything, or the absence of any wish to do anything
emotional emptiness: inability to feel normal or passionate human feelings or to respond emotionally
There’s a real danger in our world today. It’s not death…well not initially…it could be linked like some shoe string cousin. It’s not any kind of phobia. It’s apathy. I’ve talked about this danger before but sometimes it needs to be belted out through a bull horn before we wake up to its dangerous venom. Unlike hate or violence or any other kind of life threatening plague on humanity, Apathy can inflict the worst kind of sickness on the spirit on mankind.
There have been countless stories of real life examples of this disease. A woman in the state of California was mugged in broad day light and no one would come to her rescue…she fought with her attacker as he tried to swipe her purse In Broad Day Light! The only person that did come to her rescue was a homeless man who happened to be nearby. Everyone was far too busy to even care about her life threatening situation.
It’s hard to imagine people witnessing something of a violent nature and not doing something about it. Perhaps there was an element of fear or self-preservation, but to do nothing when one has the opportunity to do something…mind boggling. You might content that I wasn’t there so I couldn’t judge the merits of the would be witnesses…true and yet this is just a small example of this plight of apathy in our world today.
As Christians images of the parable of the Good Samaritan come to mind. Read it now from the Message version:
Luke 10:30-38 (MSG)
30 Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. 31 Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. 32 Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. 33 “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. 34 He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. 35 In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
36 “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
Did you catch the last thing Jesus said to the teachers of the law in this passage? “Go and do the same.” Go and do the same as what? The same as the Priest? The same as the Levite? NO! The same as the Good Samaritan. It’s funny that the one person that the Jews would have avoided in their lives came to the rescue of this man. The person with the least to offer gave what he could to the hurt and possibly dying man. That doesn’t sound like an apathetic person to me. This parable captures an attitude that we too should adopt in our lives.
Do you care enough?
Can we say that we would have done the same in our lives? Are we people who care about more than just ourselves? Are we willing to risk something not for ourselves but for someone else? For a complete stranger?
You do for me! (Jesus)
Matthew 25:34-40 (MSG)
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation.
35 And here’s why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, 36 I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? 38 And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’
39 40 Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
Do care enough? Do you care at all for others or those around you? Apathy is a deadly disease of the spirit, and if we let it loose in our lives we run the risk of not only missing out on blessings but much more. We could lose our very souls. That is a very, very scary proposition to think on!
Get on with it!
In a very real aspect, we can rid ourselves of this plague of Apathy by getting on with it! What I mean is that we ought to stop talking about loving others or helping others by actually doing something about it! Take action! Roll your sleeves up and get to work!
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” -C.S. Lewis