Apathy October 15, 2023
Problems facing the body of Christ are many and varied. The devil opposes us with persecutions, false doctrines, and all kinds of fleshly temptations. But one of his most successful devices is apathy – an attitude of indifference which afflicts Christians and eats away their zeal like a cancer. It is highly contagious and, if unchecked, is fatal to the souls of men and women. In many areas, it has now reached epidemic proportions.
The word “apathy” is an interesting word, coming from the Greek “apatheia” which means without feeling. In English we have the word Pathos which means strong passion. The prefix “a” negates the original meaning and identifies absence. So apathy means without feeling; no passion; without fervent spirit. The simple meaning is well expressed by “Who Cares?” The Lord is not pleased with apathy. Christ had rather we were hot or cold rather than existing in that nauseating middle of being lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-17). Indifference was the problem with the church in Laodicea. To that dead congregation, Jesus said, “I know your works, that you are neither cold or hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will spew you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). How many church of Christ are in that same condition today?
Unbelief is the basis of apathy. “Beware, brethren, lest there should be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God,” (Hebrews 3:12). “…be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord,” (I Corinthians 15:58).
Ingratitude is the fuel of apathy. Paul describes the behavior of sin in terms of people who knew God in some superficial way, but “did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful,” (Romans 1:21). One cannot spell apathetic without the word pathetic. Inaction is the behavior of apathy. If you do not care, you do not act! All through the book of Acts, the saints who carried on the work of the Lord were those who believed, cared, and loved. Inaction and lack of initiative id evidence of apathy.
Indifference is the attitude of apathy. Attitudes are hard to hide. If you don’t care about the things of God, it is hard to conceal that. If you are unconcerned about the lost, that will be seen in your inaction towards them. Silence is the language of apathy. If you don’t care, you probably will not say anything.
Spiritual apathy is a choice. In part, it denies (consciously or not) that God is actively involved in our lives. It admits that nothing much will change – despite the presence of the powerful Spirit within us – and that, in the current state of things, there’s nothing much to get excited about. Spiritual apathy takes things for granted – even the gift of life – and says, “Why bother?” Why bother worshipping? Why bother praying or reading God’s word? Why bother having fellowship or giving?
Let us rid ourselves of this terrible disease. It insults heaven, disgraces grace, abandons the lost, gives great occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme, and crucifies once again the Son of God. The cause of Christ deserves the very best we have to offer.
When we spend more time watching TV and playing ball than we do studying and teaching the word of God, are we not indifferent? When we find time to go to the movies and other places of entertainment, but not to visit the sick and erring, are we not indifferent? The time has come for us to wake up and get to work. Our indifference will send us to eternal hell! By an elder of the Hew Hope church of Christ