Heart Breaking Apathy

Recently something has been brought to my attention, over and over again. It is something that hurts me to the core. It is the ever-growing complacency of the world we live in. As a Christian, I should be part of the solution and I, unfortunately, have often found myself being a part of the problem.

It appears to me that the word “death” itself has lost meaning to a lot of people. It’s true that death is a part of life and when it hits home it hits hard, but what about when we just hear about it?  Most people would say “that’s sad,” however, I would venture to guess most people don’t move beyond that.  Maybe I am just a horrible person, but I’ve seen commercials of a devastating number of people dying in Africa – I don’t bat an eyelash. I’ve gone to history class and heard about 6,000,000 Jews killed, and I think “man, that’s sad, I wonder what Bethany is up to.”  Now, I am no scholar, but don’t you think it should affect me a little more than that?  People, it seems, have strictly become a number to me.

As Social Justice issues have come to forefront through social media I find I hear about tragedy more and more.  Only recently have I had more than a “oh that’s sad,” thought.  I’m attempting to go beyond a fleeting feeling of sadness and act.  This has taken shape through giving money to world missions, going on mission trips, supporting non-profits making a tangible difference, and serving the people I come in contact with.  I am trying to make a conscious choice daily to be compassionate rather than feel compassionate.

I have learned through seeing tragedy to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

I wish it were a built in response, but historically this has not been the case for me. Though, as I’ve grown and matured in Christ and as a human, I have softened.  Thank God for that.

I could be a radical and blame it on the news. I have always found it somewhat insulting when the news say “a terrible double homicide downtown leaves 2 families fatherless, and coming up next how to keep your flower garden in bloom extra long this spring.” I think the singer / songwriter Jack Johnson says it well in his song “Bad News.”

“A billion people died on the news tonight, but not so many cried at the terrible sight . . . Why don’t the news casters cry when they read about people who die? At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eyes”

Truthfully, it’s not fair to blame the news for the careless position of my heart. Perhaps it doesn’t help but I am in control of me, and it’s up to me to react with compassion.

In the past bad news has gone in one ear and out the other.   God has been changing my heart over the years. Now I desire to react by (1) Consciously thinking about what I hear and see (2) Lifting those involved up in prayer (3) Praying for strength for their friends and family and everyone affected by this sad event.  The Lord has given us a spirit of compassion that we are supposed to use to love the world and all the people in it. If you read this and you need some prayer please e-mail me, I would love to pray for you.

Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.