April 18, 2012

The sin of indifference


You who love the Lord, hate evil!
    He protects the lives of his godly people
    and rescues them from the power of the wicked.
Light shines on the godly,
    and joy on those whose hearts are right.
May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord
    and praise his holy name!
Psalms 97:10-12

The poison of indifference.  It will kill our witness and weaken are relationship with Christ. It gnaws away at the soul.  It causes us to ignore sin and injustice.  We become more attune to the lies of the enemy and numb to the evil taking place in the world around us. We choose to keep our “noses clean” by choosing not to “take a side” which really means choosing to keep ourselves out of a “sticky situation.” We claim “love” and "grace" but our actions speaks differently.  We take the side of neutrality, throwing out statements that makes us appear noble before man. We are all guilty of this atrocity.

Scripture speaks to our indifference.  It speaks to our lack of interest (other than catching up on the latest gossip in regards to a situation) or concern when evil is taking place around us or in the lives of those around us. Scripture speaks to our sin of silently standing on the sidelines as we watch evil devour the good in our world.  No matter our race, sex or age, our actions or lack there of, will be judged by a just God  for the indifference in our life.

When we claim to be a follower of Christ, there is no room for indifference.  Jesus loves us with a passion that is deeper than can be described by mere words.  He sacrificed His life so that we might know grace, such unmerited favor. When we accept Christ into our lives and say we are going to live as He lives, it means loving as He loves, what He loves, and it means showing grace as He shows grace.  Christ called us to love everyone including our enemies.  We are called to love those who hurt us. We are called to love those who despise His name because that is what Jesus does however; we are to hate what goes against His Truth.  Does it mean we hate those who go against His Truth?  NO.  It does mean though that we are to stand against what is evil.  We are not to support the evil deeds of man.
 
When we accept Christ into our life, the Holy Spirit moves in and we become a new person.  Our way of thinking should change. The way we act should change.  The words we speak should change.  The way we live should change. There should be craving within to fight for what is right and to stand up for what Christ gave His life to save. This does not happen when we take the side of indifference. As Christians we struggle with wearing the "high and mighty mask." We profess one thing with our words but portray something totally different with our actions. Our thinking becomes that we are better than others are.  We read our Bibles and quote scripture but are truly nothing more than Pharisees. We are like white washed tombs. We are full of a lot of knowledge yet seriously lacking spiritual fruit. When we accept Christ into our lives, there should be change. The Holy Spirit places within us special gifts that we are to use to share His love and grace with others. A the body of Christ, we are to work together with those gifts but when one of us is missing, or not fully committed to the cause, the body is not complete and cannot function properly.  If you are someone dealing with indifference, you are causing the body of Christ to be lacking in some way.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.  Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Romans 12:2-8

This next passage is my favorite part of Romans 12.  Don’t pretend to love.  Such a profound statement.  We throw the word love around which such carelessness.  If we are to love as Christ loves, then it means a love that is genuine and honoring.  It means loving someone who is suffering and standing by them as they march through the gates of hell to battle evil. It means helping those that are part of the family of God when they are in any kind of need. It is saying you are beside them no matter the cost. It is truly hating evil and standing up for what is right and true. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.  Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Romans 12:9-13

This next passage is a hard one but a true test of the Holy Spirit within us. “Bless those who persecute you.”  Wow!  It is remembering that no one is good. (Romans 3:10) NO ONE.  We ALL sin!  In the end, those who deliberately cause me harm are truly no different than I am.  Even those without Christ in their lives are still loved by God and so instead of cursing those that harm I am to bless.  I am NEVER to repay evil for evil, which is THE hardest thing I have ever had to do. The great lesson learned, is the great peace that transcends when you know that God is in control and He alone will take revenge on evil.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
    I will pay them back,”
    says the Lord.
Instead,
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
    burning coals of shame on their heads.”
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Romans 12:14-21
Our indifference comes at a high price. We each will be held accountable for the role we have played in our part of indifference in someone else’s situation or our own. Jesus clearly stated, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:40 When we stand by and watch as children are harmed or the innocent being persecuted and do nothing, we will be held accountable.  Just as those who sin suffer the consequences of their sin, we will suffer the consequence of our indifference.

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