22.7.10

Peace, Apathy, Indifference, and Trust: Attitudes in Life and Apologetics (Christian Apologetics Week Post #6)

Do Not Worry

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life..."

Thus begins one of Jesus hardest teachings; or at least, one of His teachings that I have found the hardest.  How can I not worry? I know that, theologically speaking, the more I trust God the less I should worry, and that anxiety in the face of life is in itself a sign of lack of trust.  Knowing that and living it out are two very different things. So much so, that I think I often get confused.  


The Narrow and Wide Gates

As a Christian I am called to rest in the peace of Christ and trust in God.  I am encouraged to care about righteousness and justice, to hunger and thirst for them, to desire and seek God, and cry out to Him "How long, Oh Lord?" in the face of injustice.  This is Jesus' remedy for anxiety.  

As a member of western consumer society, I am told to rest in the peace of material things and trust in myself.  I am encouraged to ignore injustice and unrighteousness, especially insofar as I can't affect them anyway or they are far away and do not really affect me, to desire and seek my own advancement, and to drug away my feelings of restlessness by consuming more things. This is the culture's remedy for anxiety.    

The first, Jesus' way, involves peace and trust, but also love, compassion, pain, and sacrifice.  The second, our culture's way, involves self-seeking self-satisfaction, but also apathy and indifference to the pain and suffering of those around me in order to minimize my own pain or need for sacrifice.  These paths are diametrically opposed; I cannot live in both of them at once. 


Confusion

And yet, somehow, I find myself getting apathy confused with peace, indifference with trust.  Am I at peace over things in my life, and in the world, because they do not hurt my heart? Or have I merely wound myself into an apathetic stupor so that my heart is numb?  Am I trust in God to take care of others and myself when I can't bring myself to pay enough attention to care, or am I wallowing in the sludge of indifference and lack of motivation? I must confess, that far too often I have to answer with the second of these options.  


The Antidote: Love in the Presence of God

What does this have to do with apologetics? I have to ask myself why I care about apologetics.  Is it because I like looking smart, but could care less about other people's relationships with God? Or is it because I earnestly desire to answer the call of God and to bring His reconciliation and healing into the lives of others?  Obviously, I am a mix of these, but I want the second to be true.  I do not want to gain the knowledge of apologetics, but become apathetic about sharing it and indifferent to those who do not know God.  And so, in apologetics, as in all of life, I must remember that the focus is on one thing: God. 

The antidote to apathy and indifference is love, agape.  This kind of will and action pushes me to look to the other, to care for the other, to give to the other, even when it inevitably hurts.  And this love can only be built up and practiced in the presence of God.  I am simply not capable of doing it on my own.  

Therefore, in this post, I commend to myself and to you, my reader, the best apologetics practice I know: Be with God.  Be with God with all your person.  Find a way to rest in Him always.  Abide, dwell, rest, and be.  Without this, nothing else matters. 




This post is part of Chrisitan Apologetics Week.  You can find the introduction, with links to all the posts, here

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