March 14, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, one of the ministers at my church was talking about indifference and started off with the indifference someone named Gallio was showing towards something that one should not be showing indifference to if their heart is warm and soft. Religious matters are not something to be indifferent about, especially when someone is being abused or in any way harmed (even if the harm is emotional and mental instead of physical because emotional and mental hurt are harder to heal). Brother Francisco then asked us if there was indifference within the church and then answered his own question and sadly, the answer is yes. As made obvious by the trial that he made reference to in the beginning, there is indifference in the church. How do you notice indifference in the church or anywhere else for that matter? Attendance is one way: does the person show up and do what they are supposed to do? Do they do what they are supposed to do grudgingly because they have to, or willingly out of love?
I remember thinking throughout this message about indifference in different environments like the church, home, work, and all other areas of life that there is indifference going on in my environment towards innocent babies, innocent children, and an innocent puppy (19 months old) and it stems from a few things: selfishness, laziness, greed, and worst of all, refusing to acknowledge God’s existence even though both people grew up in families that went to church and at least one of them participated in the youth group (which I know because I was there). Seeing this indifference which causes neglect of innocent babies, children, and a puppy breaks my heart. The babies and puppy are blessed to have someone in the house who does care enough to meet their needs when they need to be met instead of whenever the other people “feel like it” or “can be bothered” to do it. I am not saying that the parents of these babies, children, and puppy don’t love their babies, the children or the puppy, but their love is not as strong as their laziness. Before someone thinks I am passing judgment, I am not. It is pure laziness, and neglectful, to wait 3 hours to change your baby’s diaper when he was crying about it for the past 3 hours on and off. It is neglectful to not feed your dog all day and then suddenly remember late at night or the next day. This does not happen all of the time, but it should never happen. Once is too many times and it has happened more than once.
Watching TV, socializing on your laptop or cellphone, or dealing with work issues is not more important than your babies’ needs or your puppy’s needs and neither is making your own dinner. If you are making something in the oven, that is what timers are for. If you are watching TV, especially if you have the option to pause, then you have no excuse for not tending to your baby’s needs or babies’ needs (if they both have needs that need to be met at the same time and right away). I understand people who work hard all day during the week and sometimes on weekends too, but that also does not excuse you from your parental responsibilities or from your canine responsibilities, or quite frankly, from your household chores. Taking advantage of the person living with you and thinking it is their responsibility to care for your babies, your dog, and your house is selfish, rude, and wrong. Just because this person does not have a job that pays money does not mean she does nothing, especially if she is a child of God who goes to church every Sunday for service and every Wednesday for fellowship dinner and Bible Study, does daily Bible study and meditation with God, works at spreading God’s Word, is working on all aspects of her health so she can become independent of other people’s help and rely only on God to provide all of her needs and help her supply some of her own needs including a roof over her head that is her own and not someone else’s does not mean she is not doing any work. And helping to care for the babies and the dog that she is allergic to is also work. What about the children you ask? They range in age a little bit so the oldest one kind of takes over looking after her siblings when needed but their needs are met better than the poor babies’ needs and the puppy’s needs. It is not fair that the older kids get neglected less, but these kids also help out with their baby brothers when they are here and the oldest also helps out with the dog sometimes. She is actually a very responsible teenage girl and she has nothing but love for her younger siblings, including her 10 month old brothers.
To the indifferent and to everyone: When someone is going out of their way to help you raise your babies and take care of your dog, instead of being rude and mean and telling them off for not picking up your slack on your household chores from messes you made, you should be more appreciative of them and not give them an ultimatum about “help do this and that, or else.” If you are stressed out because of work and would appreciate more help with household chores, ask nicely to contribute instead of demanding they do it all, by themselves. Kindness goes a whole lot further than rudeness and God watches and sees everything that goes on and sees when injustice is being done. God promises to take revenge on your behalf if you promise not to take matters into your own hands (Romans 12:19).
How do you guard yourself from becoming indifferent? First, have a heart turned towards God that is open and filled with love (love for God, healthy love for yourself, and love for others). Second, stay away from people who are always negative because negativity is contagious. If you have someone, or people, in your life who are always down on life and tell you that “you can’t do this” or “you will never accomplish that, it’s impossible,” do not listen to them because they are not with God and they are living their own nightmare and not their dream. God placed dreams in everyone’s heart and if you are faithful to God, he will be faithful to you to help you accomplish your dreams but you must do your part (and know what is your part to do and what parts you cannot do alone) and trust God to do what you are unable to do yourself. God makes the impossible possible with his mighty power, ability, and willingness (if it is within God’s promises or God’s will then he will do it). King Solomon, King David’s son, who was granted wisdom from God, tells us in Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Jesus explains in Matthew 15:17-20 why we must guard our hearts. He does not make reference to Proverbs 4:23, but he tells us it is the heart that has murderous thoughts and is deceitful, which is why we must guard it and not let it be defiled and we must not let our heart’s fleshly desires (what our body wants) defile us. Surround yourself with positive people who are full of love, know God and have a close relationship with him, and are living their dreams because they trusted God and did their part and trusted and allowed God to do his part. You must not let greed, selfishness, laziness, negative attitudes or behaviors, negative words, or hurtful or abusive language take control. You must exercise self-control (1 Peter 1:13), which is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23, though read verse 22 as well to get a list of all fruits of the Holy Spirit and read verses 19-21 to read the results of sinful natures and desires).
The most important commandment is to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength (Mark 12:28-12:30 and verse 31 lists the second greatest commandment: to love others as you love yourself). If you obey the most important commandment and also the second one, then you will not only be fulfilling the requirement of God’s laws, but you will find it hard to become indifferent with love in your heart. Faith in God is also required because when you have faith, you are not showing indifference but respect, love, and trust. For people who do not believe God exists or choose to ignore the fact he exists because of something that happened to you, out of greed and selfishness, or for any other reason, you need to get over your reasons for not acknowledging God exists when you’ve seen proof of it (Romans 1:19-21 and also Psalm 19:1-6) and deal with the reality of it. If you lost a loved one, even though you do not understand why God did it (Isaiah 57:1-2 may bring you answers and comfort on that matter), then choose to let go of the hurt and hang on to the happy memories and know that if they were right with God when they died and you are right with God when you die, you will see them again.
If you won’t see them again then rest assured that when you get to Heaven (if you make it there), that there will be no more mourning, grief, sadness, pain, sickness, stress, or anything bad and Jesus will wipe away all of your tears (Revelations 21:4). If you don’t want to acknowledge God exists because then it turns out you will be held accountable for all of your thoughts, speech, and actions, and want to live life how you want to, outside of God’s law and giving in to your sinful desires, then you are in big trouble. You need to wake up and realize God does exist and yes you will be judged for how you lived your life and treated others and on everything you say, think, and do throughout your lifetime from the moment you are old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong until the day you die and leave this earth. If the existence of God seems too incredible and unrealistic to you, how is it more realistic to believe that people either evolved from monkeys and apes or created themselves? How is it more realistic to believe in the Big Bang Theory? Science comes in handy for a multitude of things and God does help people out with their scientific work when it is in alignment with his will (such as finding cures for cancer and other currently incurable diseases) and anything to help his people in ways God wants us to help them with science. But science cannot explain everything. There is no scientific answer for the existence of God and love is not able to be answered in a scientific matter either since love is more than chemistry between two people.
For people who claim they believe but continue sinning willfully, doing whatever they want to whenever they want to, they need to turn back to God and repent sincerely and give all of themselves to the Lord once again. When you are on fire for the Lord, there is no room for indifference, which leads to neglect and other forms of abuse. Neglect is a form of abuse and it is one of the worst kinds because it gives people the feeling of abandonment and it messes with their mental and emotional health. Always spewing negativity on other people is also harmful to the person you are dumping all of your negativity on and it is not right or fair and God will punish you if you lead a child of God astray (Matthew 18:6). Do not lead a child or another person, particularly a child of God or a potential child of God who wants to believe and follow God but does not have the full information needed to do so (the Good News and about baptism) astray with your negativity or ungodliness. Instead, turn away from your evil ways and stir up your heart with love for God to chip away the indifference, greed, selfishness, and laziness (and lust). When you have love in your heart, and have a right relationship with God, you will take responsibilities at home and with your babies, children, and pets (and most importantly the responsibilities God gave you to doing his work) seriously and will do everything with love and with a cheerful attitude.
Today, if you suffer from indifference, know it is not too late to change. If you know someone who is indifferent in any (or many/all) areas of their life, then know it is not too late for them either and pray for them. The prayer of a righteous person has great power (James 5:16). Please be one more person who is loving and open and who serves God and can bring others to God, and be someone who takes all responsibilities seriously and be careful not to neglect any area of your life be it God’s work of spreading his word and helping others in need, family (especially babies), pets, work, or any other area of your life (including your own health. Take care of your body for it is a temple for the Lord, which we are told in 1 Corinthians 6:19). Filter your thoughts, filter what you watch (TV, movies, and anything else you watch, including people watching), filter what you listen to, and fill your mind and heart with God’s Word so your thoughts, speech, and actions are in alignment with God’s will, God’s Word, and God’s way. Be careful who you spend your most time with. God still has a plan for you, or the person you are thinking of who needs help in becoming a child of God or returning to God. If it is someone else you are concerned about, then pray for the person and warn them like we are told to in Ezekiel 3 and give them God’s message about repentance and to do it before it is too late and then leave it to them and to God as to whether or not they return to God or (for the first time) give their lives to Christ first by believing, then by confessing their sins, then by repenting sincerely, then by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and then by receiving the Holy Spirit and letting it and disciples of God lead you in God’s ways and love, revere, worship, and serve the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength for the rest of your days on earth.
If it is you who needs to take these steps, decide to take that step today. You were already thinking about it or you would not have bothered reading up to this point in this blog. When you live life for God and worship and serve him willingly then you will be filled with joy, peace, love, and thanksgiving in your heart. You will live a long, healthy, happy and prosperous life when you live a life pleasing to God and open to love. Feeding the desires of your flesh (lust, sex, money, possessions, etc) you are only giving yourself temporary satisfaction and when you die, you won’t be able to bring any of your possessions with you and lust will have gotten you nowhere too. However, God promises eternal satisfaction because when you are right with God, your whole being (heart, mind, soul, and spirit) are all at peace and at rest knowing that God is in control, God will provide all of your needs and do for you what you are unable to do for yourself due to lack of strength or resources or both, and that no matter how stressful life gets, the stress is ultimately temporary and better days (while you are alive on earth) are ahead of you and you will have eternal joy, eternal peace, and eternal love in Heaven after Jesus’ second coming and after your first death (departing from earth), you will be comforted by Jesus until the time of the day of Judgment has arrived. Which sounds better to you? Living life indifferently and hurting people around you who love you and count on you (especially babies, young children and innocent animals you keep as pets) and satisfying sinful desires temporarily with ungodly pleasures (or living to please other people, which is just as bad), or living your life with an open heart filled with love, joy, and peace and willingly loving and serving God and being a full child of God (through baptism and living your life in faith and pleasing God) and enjoying the benefit of salvation which includes an eternity in the presence of God and our Lord Jesus Christ after Judgment Day and living the rest of your life on earth with peace, trust and faith in God, joy, love, health, prosperity, and all good things God has to offer? God does not promise you will never have problems but he does promise to either see you through them or to save you from your difficult situation. When he changes your situation right away as soon as you have prayed then thank God; if God allows the difficult situation, he is building your faith and spiritual strength and he will see you through your difficult situation in the right time after you are ready for the positive and much needed change to come. Without God, there is no hope for your situation to get turned around unless God does it to use you to help someone else (in which case you should fall to your knees and thank God for helping you even though you’re not a follower of his Son and do evil and should turn your heart towards God and give up your sinful nature). With God, there is always hope because God honors all of his promises which are all answered with “yes!” (2 Corinthians 1:18-20). If a better life sounds good to you, and you have not already done so, turn to God and become his legal child by being baptized in the name of the Lord and take the necessary steps to be baptized and also live your whole life, in every area of your life, for God and only for God. You can turn your life around for the better today and improve the lives of those around you who you have an impact on today by choice. Will you make that choice? Do you love those whose lives you affect and love yourself enough to make the necessary changes? Do you love God enough to do so? Hopefully the answer is yes and you will start today by taking the first step (believing God exists if you have not acknowledged God’s existence yet) and then take the other necessary steps.
I apologize if this blog gets confusing and appears to have gone off on a tangent. For anyone paying attention, being a child of God and being on fire for him and having love for him, yourself, and others affects others and also you. Without love in your heart, you could become cold or indifferent. Jesus can unfreeze a frozen heart more easily than an indifferent one. Today decide to stop suffering and to stop letting other people and innocent babies, children and animals suffer from your indifference and the results of the indifference (not caring). Let God breathe new life into you today and give you a loving, obedient (to God) heart that willingly loves, worships, and serves him and makes you loving toward yourself and others.