At 42 years of age, I have seen many amazing technical innovations in my time. None can compare, in my view, to the piece of technology you are utilizing right now to read this blog: the World Wide Web. Never in history has the world been so small, so connected. There are nearly seven billion people on this planet, yet we can be almost instantly connected with a great many of them at any time of the day or night. The internet provides the medium for novice on-site reporters to broadcast images of what is truly happening around them. We are no longer beholden to the filtered and slanted view of the news we have historically gotten from our own media. This isn’t a political statement, but rather one of nationalism. It is quite obvious and common that every country tells its history from its own self-serving angle. This is why early American history will sound quite different when reading Anglo-American, British or Native American writings. All of this is to say that it is now extremely difficult to hide the truths and atrocities that occur around the world every single day.
The ultimate result of this brave new world that is laid bare before us is that we, as followers of Christ, can no longer feign ignorance to what is happening to our brothers and sisters on our watch. In countries all around the planet, Christians are brutally slaughtered and mercilessly tortured simply for professing to the same faith that we do. In a great number of countries, churches are illegal and not tolerated. Christians gather in homes, in secret shelters and hiding places to worship the Lord together. They risk being beaten, raped and murdered all for the sake of Jesus. Families are torn apart; loved ones who are sent to far off prisons are never heard from again. They are forced into 18 hour days of hard labor and given little food, clothing or shelter. Yet, still they endure; still they gather together to praise and worship Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, followers of Christ in the Western world leave the church and even walk away from their faith because of disagreements over the color of the new carpeting in the sanctuary or the style of music played in the morning service. We put in our hour every Sunday morning and forget about our commitment to God until the next week. We spend the days in between griping about the fact that there’s nothing to eat while our cupboards are full. We complain that we have nothing to wear while our closets resemble the inventory of a small boutique. We grumble that life is unfair and difficult while depositing a six figure income into the bank.
I am humbled and sickened when I reflect on our greed, self-centeredness and apathy. I am heartbroken when I recall the parable of the Good Samaritan and the command to love my neighbor as myself. We’re not getting it done; we are not obeying the simple command of Jesus. I’m not worthy to call Him Lord. When will we begin to understand and own up to the fact that our petty annoyances are repulsive to God? Much like the Israelites who wandered in the desert, we are a stubborn and whining people, unable or unwilling to see God for who He is. The blood of a billion neighbors cries out to us, and we walk by on the other side. God forgive us; God help us to repent and seek Your face and to live lives worthy of our calling.
This isn’t a feel good post. To be perfectly honest, I never really know where the topic is going to end up when I begin to write. Many will read this and be offended. That’s okay; I’m offended as well. I’m offended that I could be so blind and uncaring. I’m offended that I profess to be a follower of Jesus yet do so little to help my neighbor in need. The world has become smaller; our neighborhood now extends the breadth of the globe. Our brothers and sisters lay bleeding in the ditch. We are the called; we are the chosen. We are the ones who must reach out as the hands of Jesus and care for their needs. The command to love our neighbor as ourselves is simple, but it is not easy. We know what the problems are. We know what our response must be. Are we willing to serve Jesus and carry out the mission He entrusted to us? There are only two choices: follow or walk away. Our choice has eternal and incredible consequences. Which path will you choose?