Indifference, apathy, nonchalance and lack of concern for others are the signs of our calloused, uninvolved age. Could these attitudes have rubbed off on you without your realizing it? Check on yourself by reading this article.
MAHMOUD SLIEMAN ZAK, 15, had one ambition in life — to become a full-fledged member of the Palestinian guerrillas. Sitting in the shade of a building near a highway in Gaza, fondly handling a grenade, he wondered if he would have a chance to use it on somebody. That same sultry day, Robert Aroyo, his wife Preeti and their children Marc-Daniel, age 7, and Abigail, age 4, decided to visit a seaside camp in the Sinai. The police felt there was no peril in taking such a trip. So the Aroyos set out in their car. As they approached Gaza, a friend of Mahmoud's sauntered into the street, forcing them to slow down. At that instant, Mahmoud pulled the pin on his grenade and tossed it onto the back seat of the car. There was a muffled explosion and a wail, "Daddy, daddy, my back is broken!" And then silence — little Marc-Daniel and Abigail were killed and Rohert Aroyo's wife suffered injuries to the spine. But Mahmoud was indifferent. He didn't care — he hated the Israelis with a vehement passion. Such tragic stories happen all the time all over the world. In every nation, among all races, similar events have occurred. Only the time, place, participants and circumstances vary.
Indifference or Indignation?
How do you react at reading such a story? Does it grab your emotions — clutch at your stomach? Does it make you literally SICK at the gross inhumanity of man to man in this modern, reeling world? You live in a world gone mad. Riots, muggings, murder, rape, starvation, brutality are commonplace — so much so that unless we are on our guard we can become oblivious and hardened to what is happening around us. Stop and think. You live in a world where venereal disease strikes children 10 to 14 years old. Where gonorrhea is America's most common contagious disease, after the common cold and measles. Where young males "prance" up and down the streets in women's slacks, high heels and long hair. Where high schools are infested with prostitution rings and dope peddlers. Every base act and foul crime imaginable is committed in our modern Godless society. But it is the rare person today who still has the sensitivity to be moved and shocked into a sense of abhorrence by what is taking place! Most people today simply don't care. They lead insulated lives. They are the "silent majority" — the mass of "uninvolved." Most don't want to be disturbed by the facts. Most are caught up in a binge of self-love and a driving greed to gorge their desires and glut their appetites. Millions today are filled with indifference toward the welfare of their country, their neighbors and anyone but themselves — having become totally APATHETIC! Not long ago in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area, R group of 60 people watched two children vainly struggle for their lives in a local river and no one lifted a hand to help! They were so indifferent and past feeling that they did nothing at all. The children drowned. Indifference is a deadly cancer corrupting the entire world in this end time. It is a product of selfishness and the abundance of SIN!
It Was Prophesied
The Apostle Paul prophesied that in these last days living itself would be perilous. He foretold that men would be motivated only by an inward, thoughtless love for themselves. They would be incapable of showing the natural affection of one human toward another. Unconcerned for anyone but themselves, they would be arrogant, pushy — even fierce (II Tim. 3:1-4). These are people so caught up in the swirl of their own family, their own lives, that they can nonchalantly watch children fight a losing battle for their lives and not lift a finger to help. Brethren, it is our materialistic, grasping, competitive, "keeping up with the Joneses" way of life that spawns this shoulder-shrugging, indifferent "who cares?" attitude! We need to realize that this is the typical attitude of the society in which we live. You and I live in a world permeated with just such an approach to life! AND IT HAS INFLUENCED US! That fact we need to recognize and ponder. Because sin would become so prevalent and simply be taken as the norm, Jesus predicted that some in God's Church would lose their love and concern for others. Some, He said, would become so passive and indifferent to the appalling, shocking conditions of their environment that they would become spiritually cold! "And because iniquity [lawlessness — sin] shall abound, the love [of God and righteousness] of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). He indicated some would become so hardened to rampant lawlessness, they would even leave the Church of God! Why will they leave? Because those who take the sins of this world for granted and cannot sigh and cry for the abominations done in it are going to have that very approach to their OWN sins and faults! They will be unable to be moved or stirred by articles, sermons, or other correction they receive.
Do You "Sigh and Cry"?
The prophet Ezekiel wrote about our days. One hundred twenty years after ancient Israel had been taken into captivity (around 720 B.C.), he prophesied about a time of future national depravity and resultant captivity of Israel. Ezekiel received the words of God intended especially for the peoples of the Western democratic nations of the British Commonwealth and the United States. Notice what God showed him was to happen in our lifetime: "And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity... but come not near any man upon whom is the mark..." (Ezek. 9:3-6). Few indeed actually "sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done" in the nations of modern day Israel, and the WHOLE world! Yet those whom God is going to protect are shocked and aye stirred to action by the conditions of society — those who cry out to God, when they notice the appalling conditions around them, "Thy kingdom come!" and really mean it. Can you sincerely say "Thy kingdom come" when you see some poor wretched male dressed like a woman — in women's slacks and long hair? Are you moved with compassion when you see a ragged blind man playing an accordion with cup in hand on some sidewalk? Do conditions in society really wrench your emotions? You need to think deeply about the contrast between God's way of life and the way of carnal man. Indifference in the face of sin, be it the nation's sins or your own personal sins, will KILL you — both physically and spiritually! The unconcerned, nonchalant Laodiceans mentioned in Revelation 3:14-18 are specifically characterized as being "lukewarm." These are the ones who must go through the great tribulation and in many cases suffer death because of their easy tolerance of evil and sin. These individuals are actually members of the Church of God, but have become infected with the cancer of indifference. They are not so "cold" as to turn their backs on the Church and on God, but neither arc they "hot" enough to be really concerned and to overcome themselves. They no longer hunger and thirst for righteousness. They have lost much of that loyalty and patriotism for God — that sensitivity and abhorrence toward all wrong. No human suffering seems to reach their aloof, calloused, fleshly hearts. Nothing moves them to tears; nothing stirs their compassion or causes them to express deep anguish for the cruel suffering of mankind. They are self-satisfied, smug, complacent, lethargic, thinking they have need of nothing. In the book of Hebrews, Paul shows that general indifference toward our responsibilities can lead to willful sin, And even the unpardonable sin can be the result of an indifferent, "I don't care" approach to God (Heb. 10:23-29). Brethren, we must not co-exist with sin. We MUST NOT COMPROMISE with sin, thereby learning to "live with" or tolerate obvious weaknesses we know we have. We must keep moving forward — overcoming — not allowing ourselves to become infected with the easygoing way of the world! There is a way that indifference can be overcome and eradicated from your disposition. If you want to rid yourself of this spiritual cancer, put into continual action the following principles: 1. Observe Man's Present Plight. Think deeply about the misery of this world as it wallows in its sins. Millions in Pakistan have suffered unbearably in the throes of civil war. Millions in Africa, including innocent little children, are severely malnourished. Hunger and starvation stalk the earth. Even in our affluent Western countries, millions suffer from mental illness and other diseases, and thousands commit suicide in hopeless desperation yearly. The facts are appalling, wherever you look. Why? Hunger, disease, war and twisted, wretched lives are the result of man's way WITHOUT GOD! As the Apostle Paul explained: "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit..." (Rom. 1:28-29). Don't hide your eyes from the things happening in this world. Man is reaping the penalty for sin! All these wretched conditions are the automatic results of SIN! Read the rest of Paul's statement in verses 29-32. Then WATCH, PRAY, and deeply realize the resultant misery being endured by billions of humans! 2. Contrast the World's Way With God's Way. A truly faithful Christian will be leading a joyous, happy, abundant life. He has peace of mind, freedom from worry, fears, anxiety. He knows what is beyond this physical existence. He has a driving, inspiring goal in life and knows how to attain it. Yes, he has trials, but he knows why and takes them in a right attitude. He is in God's hands and he knows it. He has real, deep, inner PEACE AND JOY despite trial and tribulation. His is a life of real FAITH. AND WHAT A LIFE! His physical needs are provided and he doesn't even need to worry about death. Every blessing and joy imaginable, through obedience, comes to those who follow God's way of life. Be aware of the vast difference between God's way and the world's way. 3. Be Deeply Thankful. Give God daily the thanks He deserves for all that He has given you and the way He serves you, and deeply mean it. If you do, you will not be indifferent about God's way of life. You will deeply appreciate it. You'll appreciate God's Church, His truth, and His plan for our salvation. There just will not be room for indifference. We need to be "giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" because God "giveth us [all true Christians] richly all things to enjoy" (Eph. 5:20; I Tim. 6:17). 4. Abhor All Evil. The world is being deprived of abundant blessings because of evil — sin. God commands: "Abhor that which is evil..." (Rom. 12:9). Do you? Don't be content to live with your sins which deprive you and your family of deep happiness. Formulate a plan of attack and get stirred up about them. Be angry at sin, not only for what it will do to you, but what it is, and has, and will do to the world. Yes, be ANGRY at sin — God hates it. Is He indifferent? Ask God to give you His attitude toward sin! 5. Cling to the Truth. Jesus said: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way [the false ways of the world] that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate and narrow is the way [of truth] which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:13-14). "Strive to enter in at the strait gate," Christ said in Luke 13:24. Now that God has given you the truth, cling to it tenaciously! "... cleave to that which is good" (Rom. 12:9). Develop a "love of the truth," as Paul exhorted, so you will never be "hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (II Thes. 2:10; Heb. 3:13). 6. Pray Daily for Christ's Return. You have the solution for the world's ills. You have been set free from spiritual ignorance which is destroying the world (Hos. 4:6). If you pray daily for Christ's return as a result of feeling deeply for man's deprivation, you CANNOT remain indifferent! So pray earnestly for the soon establishment of God's Kingdom when the knowledge of God will FILL the earth (Isa. 11:9), knowing that GOD'S TRUTH will then set the world free (John 8:32). 7. Do Your Part in God's Work. The world is floundering in a morass of lackadaisical unconcern. It is gorged with excess, satiated with materialistic pleasures. The world has no driving goal. You HAVE! For YOU have been called to have a part in SAVING THIS WORLD'S inhabitants from "TOTAL DESTRUCTION"! (Mal. 4:6, see original Hebrew.) Is your heart REALLY in God's Work? Ask God to help you "catch the vision." Ask Him to help you FULFILL your role in the most important work on the face of the earth today! SHAKE YOURSELF out of indifference and DO God's Work — be busily doing your Father's business as Christ did (Luke 2:49). Become "on fire," filled with zealous concern for others! Let the outgoing, warm, compassionate LOVE of God flow out of your heart and mind through the Holy Spirit God has given you (Rom. 5:5). Loving concern is the opposite of carnal indifference. Love hides a multitude of sins (Prov. 10:12). Remember to sympathize and be concerned for all who suffer and are afflicted (Heb. 13:3). Stir up fervent love for others, as Peter said (I Pet. 4:8). "... For if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Pet. 1:10-11). The evil cancer of indifference is rapidly multiplying and destroying this modern world. It will kill you if you allow it to take root in your heart. Don't let it!