This past Sunday we, like millions of Christians around the world, celebrated Orphan Sunday. In churches like ours, where orphan outreach is preached and practiced almost weekly, it’s hard not to let indifference settle in. One would think that the more we heard about the needs of orphaned and abandoned children, the softer and more open our hearts would grow in response. And while this is the case at times, it often isn’t.
Like a callous that slowly grows over time, our indifference doesn’t appear over night. It’s a gradual process, and until something brings its presence to our attention, we fail to see the signs of its growth.
It’s hard to be indifferent to a dirty, thin little hand stretched out to you. It’s even harder to be indifferent to the sound of a child crying. But we’re not surrounded daily by outstretched hands and tears. And it’s easy to forget what pain looks like when everyday you come home to a warm house, a hot dinner, a soft bed. The memory of someone else’s pain has no chance against the luxury we find and make for ourselves here. It’s bound to grow dim with time.
Yet the Bible makes it clear that God does not look upon our indifference lightly. Over and over again, He reminds us to give, to help: to live out a life with no room for indifference in it.
“For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.'” Deuteronomy 15:10-12
“Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
“When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. ” Deuteronomy 24:19
As Christmas nears, let’s take the time to pray for God to open up our hearts, and to reveal to us how and where indifference has crept into our lives… because it’s only in the light of His love that we are able to see how dark our hearts have grown.