Obviously the preacher quit preachin’ and started meddlin’! Hell-fire and brimstone... Sin... anxiety, arrogance, anger and apathy.
If anxiety is the opposite of faith, and arrogance is the opposite of humility, and anger is the opposite of love, then apathy is the opposite of compassion. Jesus was compassionate. He was moved to action when He saw injustice, weariness, hunger and pain.
Jesus demonstrated compassion when Blind Bartimaeus and his buddy cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” Caring nothing about the blind men’s plight, the crowd bellowed something like, “sit down and shut up!” That’s apathy. Jesus, on the other hand, was “moved with compassion” and “touched their eyes” (Matthew 20:29-34).
On another occasion, Jesus and his disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee to find a crowd of 5000 men and their families. When it became apparent that they hadn’t brought provisions and were hungry, the disciples of Jesus said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late. Send the crowds away so that they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”That’s apathy. “These crazy people didn’t pack a lunch... get rid of them. Send them away.” But when Jesus saw them, He “had compassion on them, and healed their sick” and multiplied the little boy’s lunch to feed them (Matthew 14:13–15).
Jesus often taught his disciples using parables. In Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus told the story of a selfish boy who turned his back on his God and his family. The older brother couldn’t forgive his younger brother. He didn’t care that his brother had lost everything including his own dignity. He deserved the shame of being subjected to slavery! That’s apathy. But “his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:11-32).
The Parable of the Good Samaritan compares apathy and compassion. When the traveler was assaulted and left for dead, the priest and Levite both saw the desperate need and did nothing to give aid. “When he saw him he passed by on the other side.” That’s a classic example of apathy. They saw the poor guy. They knew he needed help. Apathetically, they did nothing. “But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion” (Luke 10:29-35).
“ ‘Which of these three (the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan) do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ ‘The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same’ ” (Luke 10:36–37).
I’m guilty of apathy. As I drive through the neighborhood, I’m blind to the loneliness, the distress, the fear... I’m calloused and unfeeling. As I listen to the nightly news stories detailing the recent bombings, shootings, catastrophes, and man-made disasters, I don’t see past the broken-down walls to the broken hearts.
Lord, heal my hard heart, forgive my sinful apathy, and help me overflow with Your compassion!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.