We’ve all heard it. I can guarantee we’ve all actually said it. It’s a statement overflowing from exhaustion, irritation, and finality. After dealing with a perpetually returning situation or discussion, it’s the moment we throw our hands in the air and ultimately decide…
“I just don’t care anymore.”
My poor mother lived in this state of being with my sassy, growing self (sorry, Mom). I gave her fits over everything. I didn’t want to wear makeup. I didn’t want to curl my hair. I didn’t want to wear pantyhose with my dresses. And push a mom just enough? Yeah… they just don’t care anymore. You’re alive, breathing, and fed, so the pantyhose just do not matter that much in comparison.
Only as life proceeds to move forward, not all conflicts or conversations remain as simple as an objection to curled hair and lipstick.
People misuse one another. We become subject to over extending ourselves to help someone who always seems to have the same downfalls. We have moments of disagreement with others based on really anything – faith, politics, moral standards, and major issues of today in the news.
Like unhealthy arteries over time, we allow each of these frustrating instances to clog the way to our spiritual hearts, each conflict a buildup of apathy until suddenly – we simply do not care.
Whether this results toward one specific person – or honestly a group of rallied people – this process can cause us as Christ-followers to ultimately become less like Christ.
I would argue that it’s when our ‘care’ leaves the building that we begin to act from the source of our own motives, motives that are always in nature sinful and selfish. In our own might is not generally a great place to live from. From my experience, it never ends the way we think it will.
But back to the main subject for now.
In the light of so many rallies and spotlights toward topics of injustice and blindness today, it also can feel as though there are too many subjects for us to care about. So instead of becoming engaged with even one, we choose to not involve ourselves in any at all. We feel unique to the thought that society have never been this divided and thus check out from conversations because it’s not worth the dialogue since our opinions will always remain different.
But today isn’t so different from the far past at all.
The time period during which Jesus walked this Earth was soaked with differences in the political arena, the faith world and social interactions as a whole. Reading through the Gospels and incorporating historical narratives of that time, we can witness the equivalent of any broadcast on a news station today.
I’ve always been curious from a human standpoint how Christ handled the constant demand for his engagement in a situation. Sometimes I see how we are tempted to imagine Jesus as a magician who shot healing out of his hands like Elsa in Frozen.
It’s as if we conceive Christ invoking his best poker face, fixing the problem, and then leaving. Only, to imagine Jesus like this actually robs Him of the full life He lived. Though being fully God, He was also fully man. He is also a full picture of emotional connection and care to the imperfect people he interacted with.
So what fueled Christ’s engagement with people He possibly disagreed with?
“And Jesus called his disciples to Him, and said, ‘I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.’” (Matthew 15:32)
“When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’” (Luke 7:13)
“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
“When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14)
“Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.” (Matthew 20:34)
And the list goes on.
If we’re struggling to care anymore, our compassion gauge is probably empty. The ability to care flows out of compassion.
Now, label it what you need to. Call it empathy. Call it understanding. Sometimes we say it’s “walking in someone else’s shoes.” Whatever the title is for you – it’s the shot in the arm reminder of humanity that we need to care again.
Ultimately, this compassion element was from which some of Christ’s most memorable miracles and moments flowed.
Sounds like something we need a little bit of today either way.
Each person has their own story. They’ve had their share of experiences, both wonderful and traumatic. Sometimes we can excuse a person’s experience when we’re fed up, but to do so brings the great chance of losing virtue within ourselves as well.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But people still need to hear the truth!”
I’m there with you. But hear me out. Offering compassion doesn’t cover truth and make it obsolete. It doesn’t mean we can’t be truthful with people about our opinions, our experiences or The Word most of all. Rather though, it’s when compassion meets truth that truth has the highest chance of being received.
So it means we offer truth, but we also speak humbly and graciously. We engage in conversations, even if we disagree. We love from choice and not feelings. We become part of the solution instead of solely pointing out problems.
We walk with people of other paths, gaining the influence to speak by listening first. We share the burdens of others, for this is the law of Christ.
I can’t think of a greater way to emulate Christ than to example his empathy for others, his understanding of the reality of their situations – especially in today’s time. In reality, it’s exactly the simple greatest thing He did for each one of us. He knowingly chose to walk in our shoes.
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness…” (John 1:14)
“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)