I’m not that person – am I?
Yet, who wants to say – I’m that person. Instead, we tell ourselves – I don’t hate them nor do I fear them. The problem, however, is that we don’t care enough either because they are not us. It is our silence that speaks volumes as to where we stand, and it is our inaction that allows those fueled by hatred to make sweeping changes that have far reaching impact. When we choose silence, we become similar to those we call bigots, racists, and xenophobes because we too, don’t want our lives to be disrupted. We don’t want to feel like anything has been taken from us. The desire for comfort and convenience often outweigh the value we place on social reform.
In all fairness though, I think as a society we’re tired, and a little distracted. Every day feels like it brings about a new cause, a new idea to fight for, a new issue that needs to be fixed. And it’s not like our lives our dull. We are going through challenges at home, at work, in relationships, and throughout the mini ecosystems we’ve built for ourselves. What little energy we have left is reserved for what we see as mission critical circumstances. It’s hard to think about fighting for others, when you’re trying to deal with mental exhaustion – the silent killer of hopes, dreams, and motivation.
We desensitize ourselves to the chaos around us, sometimes as a survival method, other times because we choose to be selfish. We’ll reach our own goals first, and then maybe get around to helping others. Chaos starts to normalize as we ask ourselves – how did we get here? The answer is fear. Fear of change. Fear of disruption. Fear of jobs being taken. Fear of a recession. Fear of missing out. Fear of losing what’s most important. Fear of being singled out and cast aside. We’re making jokes about the president wanting to build a moat at the border, filled with alligators and snakes, to stop immigrants from crossing the border as if one day, that couldn’t be us. We are not immune to what is happening around us… and we are not exempt from the consequences.
Silence is a choice
When we choose silence, we become passive participants in the problems that plague our societies. We say we don’t want to fight, and yet we’re all still fighting. We’re fighting for normalcy, against being seen as followers, for financial stability, for relationships and for families. What’s amazing about humans is that built within us is this tenacity to fight for what’s most important to us. What’s sad, is that we sometimes forget about each other. We forget about the human connectivity that binds us, and the more we distance ourselves from this, the easier it is to look the other way when we hurt those we don’t know in the same way we hurt those we love.
In Matthew 25: 41-45, Jesus speaks of the day of judgement when He will say:
“…‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
Jesus wanted us to remember that we’re all in this together. Although you may not be feeling the impact of injustice in your today, there’s no guarantee the tables won’t turn. We are all susceptible to sin, pain, and suffering. And yet none of us are above looking the other way in attempts to avoid that discomfort. We cannot in good conscious expect God to bless our lives, if we are willing to cast aside the importance of others. We are all His children, and by showing concern for others, we express gratitude to God for the love and concern He shows for us.