Sometimes I find it hard to pray for all those who are in need of it around the world. I live in a little bubble which is mostly indifferent even when I hear the worst cases of persecution on Christian news sites.
Then sometimes I still feel indifferent when I know of the situation personally. Yes, I have sympathy but not enough to do much more than a simple prayer and then move on with my life.
But is that enough?
Even knowing that as Christians we are all knit together does little to alleviate the indifference to the suffering. The only hope I have is that the Holy Spirit will come and give me a stronger sense of empathy for things I can’t fully understand when I’m not experiencing it myself.
Taking our cue from the history
What would inspire you into action like the Old Testament prophets? Wailing, fasting with sackcloth and ashes, continuous prayer and supplication for their nation and people. What is it that would cause you to go to such lengths to repent and plead for our nation before a ‘great and dreadful God’ (Daniel Chapter 9 verse 3)?
When I hear of the many woes in this nation: ice addicts, abortion, domestic violence, sexual abuse… my heart is heavy for a time and then I forget as I let indifference take over.
After all, what can I do?
Pray without ceasing
Those in the Old Testament had a different strategy. They would be steadfast in pleading to the Lord on behalf of the people, never giving up hope that He could pour mercy upon Israel, no matter how many decades it took.
May we take up the cause and fight the indifference as Daniel did.
“Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” (Daniel chapter 9 verse 19).
The best way to fight indifference as I have found, is to do something about it. To plead the cause of the widows and orphans (Isaiah Chapter 1 verse 17). Because we’re commanded to and because obedience might be the only way to melt the indifference of the 21st Century heart.
Learning how to care
It helps to stay informed. It helps to practice in developing empathy. Having a curiosity about others helps to foster empathy, as well as habitually expressing your appreciation of others.
Experience can help if you’re not imaginative enough to put yourself in another person’s shoes figuratively. Opening yourself up to new cultures, experiences and even reading helps promote empathy.
But as a Christian the number one thing we can do is try to see others through God’s perspective of them. Knowing God more, we can only begin to fathom what he feels for his creation, here and all over the earth. The knowledge of God and what everlasting love means, will melt away indifference every time.
Bridget Brenton is involved in Aboriginal and Islander based ministries, and enjoys tech stuff like making websites and making games in her spare time.
Bridget Brenton from Brisbane has been for many years a young writer then an Over 31 writer and now a Panellist marking for the annual awards.