Apathy

Lately, I’ve confessed to the Lord my apathy towards spiritual things. I’d convinced myself that my lack of enthusiasm at times is just towards empty religion, but I realize there’s more to it than that.

In my lifetime, I’ve met so many who just give lip service to Christ, then do whatever they want to without batting an eye. They often talk about praying, quote scripture, and being at church every Sunday. Growing up in the South, it’s been a large part of my culture. It’s just what good Southerners do.

I know it’s not my job to judge other’s hearts, Lord knows I’ve lived the same dichotomy, but I confess all of this exposure to religion without love has just become a clanging symbol that’s loud and irritating.

Apathy has felt like a good refuge. After all, if you learn not to expect anything then you won’t be disappointed. Apathy has given me what felt like a little control, but lately I’m realizing it actually makes me a door mat. Life just happens and tramples all over me, giving me no control or hope at all. Apathy also causes me to live a dull and lifeless existence without any vision of things ever getting better. If I stay in this mindset, I know it’ll easily become a prison.

But thank God every Christian in my life hasn’t just given lip service to Christ. There have been some who’ve been pouring His love into my life when I’ve felt like I wasn’t going to survive. And because of those people, I cannot embrace apathy. Throughout recent trials, God has worked through these friends showing me His love over and over again. And finally this love has started to sink in and take root. For a long time, I was too afraid to let them penetrate the thick walls I’d put up around my heart. I was afraid that they were just being nice to me because that was their job. You know that’s just what good folks in the ministry just do. I’ve been waiting for their true colors to come out. Also waiting for them to realize just how unlovable I am.

And that’s really the root of all this apathy. I’m afraid to believe or expect anything good, because I don’t think I deserve it. And the truth is I don’t, but neither does anyone else. That’s the beauty of the Gospel. We can’t earn God’s love. We are messy, sinful people whose best works of righteousness are like filthy menstrual rags. But God looked at us in our hopeless state and chose us before the foundation of the world to become His. It gave Him great pleasure to send His Son to die for our sins. Because of His great love towards us, He gave everything so we could live. There’s something uncomfortable about this reality to my flesh. It means I have nothing to brag about it and that all my hard work in my own strength is for naught. It also means I have to give up control. For a control freak like me that’s hard. The only thing I’m left to do is humble myself and trust in what He’s given me. To focus on His goodness and glory, and not on human failures. To commit myself to following Him wherever He may go. To come before Him in humility acknowledging that I cannot do it without Him. Neither can the good Southerners or the religious hypocrites (whom I mirror more than I want to admit), so we all have something in common. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Therefore, I’m also called to forgive. God, help me to keep doing that.

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