Many years ago, I was the victim of an assault. A man I knew from a street ministry was high on “Reds” (Seconal), and attacked me full force, kicking and jumping on me, then strangling me. When I tried to roll to safety, I could see a circle of people standing and watching. They did not flee in fear–they watched without coming to my aid. I healed from the physical trauma of the attack more easily than I did the indifference of those who stood by to watch. Indifference does not recognize others or their value. It merely passes others without noticing.

A familiar example is Ralph Ellison’s novel, The Invisible Man, in which the life of the male protagonist, once so full of promise, is destroyed—not by violence, or overt racism, but by neglect. “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.”  Indifference renders neighbors invisible. In a flawed practice of Christianity, it remains in the boundaries of niceness to ignore others.

The Book of Revelation describes the indifferent church as lukewarm, neither hot not cold (neither hate nor love), and its judgment is to be spewed out like vomit. The Book of Lamentations cries, “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see.”

Do you think our society fails to see aging populations?

Have you felt invisible?

How do we learn to see?

Further reading:

When Jesus Came to Birmingham

Posted by Alice Longaker



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