Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Apathy: Why Should We Care?

 Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings.   (Helen Keller)

This week I am exploring APATHY - in the world, in our country, in the church, in a believer's heart. If you have not already, please take time to read my post (and view the video) entitled Apathy In The First Degree.

As much as I could tell, the word apathy is never mentioned in the Bible in its specific form, but the concept is referred to again and again. It comes from a Greek word apatheia which means without feeling.

Through the stories that make up the Word of God, we see that many of those men and women chose to relinquish the seductive draw of complacency through their brave actions by faith in God even when there was much at stake.
I call them risk takers or mavericks. Moses, Joshua, Esther, Gideon, the disciples, Paul, Mary Magdalene, Aquila & Priscilla, and others.

Where has that attitude of fighting faith gone today? God tells us in His Word to be fervent in spirit. That is the exact opposite of apathy! Sure, I see it in the few that have the passion and fervency to start organizations or churches to change the world, but when these modern day crusaders bring their dreams and visions to the body of Christ, there is apathetic response.

I don't have time. 
          I don't have energy. 
                     I don't see how it can help. 
                                         I don't want to be disappointed. 
      I don't want to get involved in something that's risky.

Is even the body of Christ on catastrophe overload today?

In the video of the Chinese toddler who lay in a street in a pool of her own blood as 18 people passed by, you may still be asking yourself How could that have happened? The road to an apathetic reaction to things around us is a long one paved with a conglomeration of hurts, fears, disappointments, and disasters. It doesn't happen overnight. Apathy is a negative coping mechanism to things that we cannot change, cannot deal with, cannot handle, cannot control. So what do we do to cope with the hard things of this world positively?

There are risks in this life just as there are great needs all around us. Prudence is important. It is needful. But above even that is the ability to discern the wooing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Apathy would be hard to stomach in the light of God's beautiful Spirit moving us from place to place according to His will.

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16)

When Jesus spoke these words, He was not telling those listening to be careless nor carefree in this life. He was exhorting them to be on guard, walk with eyes opened, and act when prompted by Him. God alone knows the situations or opportunities that He desires us to be involved with. Without His wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit in a Christian's life, we, too, will suffer with apathy, skepticism, and burn out. Might that be the simplest remedy to becoming apathetic? Being consistently mindful of God's leading and being bold enough to act by faith - when He asks us. But we know that none of us listens to God at all times. Life, the flesh, the world all gets in the way.

But God, in His Word, gives us hope and a promise that He will enable us to live godly, productive lives through His Spirit. But it will take some practice......

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.  (Hebrews 5:14)