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24 March 2009

Do Good to Those Who... are apathetic?

Funny thing... I've found that I don't seem to have nearly as much trouble relying on God, listening to Him, and obeying Him in times of extreme circumstances as I do when things are middle-of-the-road. Is that just me, or is it something you've noticed in yourself?

Jesus said, "Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you." When someone hates me, that's a pretty easy thing to identify, and therefore an immediate red flag pops up with the associated message, "Love this person and do good to them." Following that directive may not always be as easy as identifying it, but it's immediately on my mind.

Likewise, when something extremely good has happened or I'm in a worship service where the Spirit is at work, it's incredibly easy to focus on God and want to talk to Him and thank Him for everything.

But what about the medium things? Situations and people that insult our sense of pride but wouldn't go as deep as letting us put someone in the "enemy" category?

(I'm going to identify a couple of dining establishments here. Is it taboo to name them in writing? Hope not...)

My family went to McDonald's over the weekend and it was obvious when I ordered that I was simply a bother to the crew there. ("Customers? Bah! Who needs 'em?!") We went to the "convenient" drive-through and I had to go inside twice to assist them in getting our order correct. We ate at PF Chang's yesterday after my son had a minor medical procedure (the restaurant was his choice of cuisine as a sort of reward for vigilance) and we had a similar experience. I felt rotten after we left the place for not having asked our waitress if everything was okay and asking to pray with her. Apparently we were there for her convenience, and it showed.

These people weren't my enemies; they were apathetic. That's almost worse. Think about it; when someone is apathetic toward you, it says that you're so low and inconsequential that you don't really even register on their radar screen.

In those sorts of situations I find it oddly difficult to think like a genuine Christ-follower. I can probably act like it, but if it's not coming from a pure and authentic heart, I've got serious unresolved issues.

"You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!" - Jesus, in Matthew 5:21-22 (NLT)

(Special thanks to Jan Owen and a few other great bloggers.)


Jan said...

I know what you mean Dean! I appreciate the mention although I have no idea what you were thanking me for!!

I find it harder to be gracious in those circumstances. I also find it difficult to be gracious when people are "gripey". My pet peeve.

Leroy said...

I like making a game out of it. When someone is being apethetic towards you, try extra hard to be nice to them. It really annoys them and you're doing what you're supposed to be doing! I did it yesterday with the lady at the bank. She finally started treating me like a customer and not just another number...must be my aura. :)

Jeff said...

Great post...
I have always wanted to do a study on the effects of apathy. My hypothesis is that apathy breeds more apathy, unless the recipient of apathetic behavior is pro-actively looking for it and prepared to respond, positively.
But, since I'm not a psychologist...

Mindy said...

Dean, thank you for this post, I really needed to read it. I have a very difficult time when someone is being rude, I have a tendency to be rude right back to show them they are being rude. I now see, I'm just showing them they had a right to be disrespectful in the beginning because that is what I deserved. I'm going to now look for situations where I can love on people. Thanks again!

Dean Lusk said...

Mindy, to you specifically, thank you for reading! (And all of you others, too, but Mindy is new...)

I'm wondering how you're doing on this. It's a struggle for me. A struggle to keep giving when people just keep taking; like Jesus saying, "If someone takes your shirt, give him your cloak, too." That's anti-personality for most people; at least, it is for me.

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