The Sin of Indifference

apathySome time ago, I heard a person, ‘tongue-in-cheek’, say, “The whole world is apathetic, but then who cares.” The phrase is a sad commentary about where many of us are in relationship to our fellowman. I can’t help but ask, “Have we become so self-centered that we are indifferent to the needs of those around us?”  If so, it is an eternally fatal flaw.

It has been said that when we realize our time is short, our last words are often the most important things we say. Jesus gave us a compelling teaching in the final days of His earthly ministry. While everything Jesus said was of utmost importance, these words take on a special importance because they were among His last.  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:41-46, ESV).

Let me share stirring quote by George Bernard Shaw: “The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity.” This quote underscores the deadly nature of the sin of indifference that Jesus pointed out in Matthew 25.  The Book of James adds more weight to our understanding about the sin of indifference: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17, ESV). We are all aware of the wages of sin. Failure to love our neighbors and not reach out those in need is not a suggestion from Jesus – it is a commandment.

When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus responded, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Matthew 12:29-31). Indifference toward the Lord or our neighbors is not an option!

We must not allow ourselves to become calloused and indifferent to the needs of those who are often overlooked or ignored. Jesus says, “That is Me.” When we fail to reach out to the ‘least of these’, we withhold our helping hand from Jesus.

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me”

~ Brother Roy

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