in-no-cence [in-uh-suhns] -noun 1.freedom from guilt or evil 2. lack of worldly knowledge
apathy [ap-uh-thee] -noun. Lack of emotion or interest
Combine the two and you get:
I don’t care and if I bothered to think about it, I don’t think I have to.
Years ago our choir put on a contemporary — we’re talking 70’s — musical called Tell It Like It Is by Ralph Carmichael. Some of it is on YouTube. Go for it. But I couldn’t find the song I remember best. One of our high school students set up a folding chaise lawn chair and sang:
“Sippin’ lemonade in the cool of the shade, the cool of the shade, the cool of the shade. Sippin’ lemonade in the cool of the shade while the world goes on around me.” The character was saved and baptized and that’s where the commitment ended.
Not much has changed since Carmichael wrote that and it wasn’t new then. In the 21st century we could add a verse to demonstrate how we’re spacin’ out on vacation sippin’ lemonade or any one of a number of beverages of choice ‘cuz we’re working ourselves half to death trying to pay on the credit cards we used to buy the electronic toys and the vacation and the beverage.
We have a cool-of-the-shade mindset 24/7. “I’m busy.” And my personal favorite, one I use myself, is “Saturdays are mine. If I want to slug, I get to slug.” Hmmm.
What does it take, what does God have to do to get our attention, to get us on our missionary feet? We crave quiet time, we respect quiet time, we preach quiet time. But if time as we know it is short in these last days or if our personal 72 year estimated life span is close to the end, or if it’s possible we’re snuffed like a candle on the next road trip, when do we reach out? Who will reach out?
How do we sidestep reaching out?
Apathy, the art of justifying lack of interest. Walk on by. Ignore it. It’s none of my business. I’m not trained in that. Judge not …. give me a break! The Bible is the guidepost to behavior. Holding it up as a mirror is not us judging.
There’s a new, all inclusive un-word for innocent apathy. Diss. After you diss, you distance from the scene causing the dissed to dissolve from your sphere of vision and you are innocent by lack of participation. We do it to people all the time, people we don’t or don’t want to relate to.
I don’t do that! Yes, you do. We do. Our culture does. We have electronic toys that can screen anyone anytime. How does it feel to be set up by the evil one? To ignore someone and remain guilt free is the coldest form of meanness and cruelty. Doing so kills the joy, douses the fires of affection, dismantles any hope of relationship, destroys the spirit of another.
I’m busy. Who makes your schedule? You can fit into your schedule anyone you want to fit in.
In the story of the good Samaritan who attended to the needs of the man who was beaten and robbed, who passed him by? A priest and a Levite, the religious community. Who stopped and helped at his own personal expense? The man whose ethnic heritage was disgusting to the Jew in that day, the man from Samaria. Jews would travel 3 days’ journey out of their way to avoid Samaria. Yet this disgusting enemy came to the rescue. We don’t know the ethnicity of the victim. Apparently the Samaritan wasn’t concerned. He had mercy, busy as he may have been.
Who are we leaving in the dust? It could be someone you used to know but had a falling out, a relative you don’t have anything in common with as if blood is worthless and would rather not have anything to do with, a family member you don’t particularly like, a lonely coworker who just wants to chat.
Maybe someone you know is in the group Jesus called “the least of these”.