Image from CNN, showing Syrian Kurds behind border fences to cross into Suruc.
prism0prone asked a question:
Why isn’t anything being done about ISIS? We’re all just living our privileged little lives. As the days pass I feel more depressed & farther away from God. I cry to Him about it but I hear nothing & I’m afraid. And every time I see a cheerful Christian post about God keeping us safe, I feel bitterness and anger and I can feel my emotions slowly shutting down and I don’t want that but it just hurts. So. Much.
My friend, honestly, your question very much stirred me and disturbed me and convicted me. It broke my heart.
Because I think I’m part of the problem. I post prayer requests about ISIS or some other atrocity or disaster or tragedy, and I question myself. Am I doing this to show I care? Do I really care? Can I do more? If there are 27 million slaves in the world and 26,000 children who die everyday of preventable causes: how could I even be on this blog? How could I even think about anything else?
It’s so discouraging. To be truthful, it keeps me up at night. I’m not saying that to boast. The one time I really did anything about it a few years ago, I gave away half my salary to fight human trafficking, and even then, I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing enough. I don’t say that to boast, either. We live in a painfully broken world where even a single glance at it could eat us alive.
There’s another layer to this guilt, too. Sometimes I think I use poor people as a prop for my own “savior-narrative.” Or I become a pseudo-Social Justice Warrior about issues I’ve hardly researched, or I try to be a Google-Expert about statistics that I haven’t double-checked. I donate money to various charities every month, but maybe even this is because I look around my apartment and I see wealth, and it disgusts me, and I donate out of a self-loathing heart. I want to boycott a billion different things, or say to everyone, “Your problems are dumb, because kids in Somalia are dying and there’s still genocide in Iraq and 80% of the world lives on less than a dollar per day.”
The more news I read, the more it kills me inside. The more I see mocked up selfies, and cute Christianese slogans on Instagram, or these theological debates that only other theologians care about: the more I get angry, frustrated, hurt. How can we break free from this cycle?
I have no simple solution for this. The only thing I can actually say here is that each of us, by God’s grace, has a limited amount of resources and ability and knowledge, to do what we can, where we are, with reckless abandon. We cannot save everyone, nor can we fully “move the needle” on poverty and slavery and oppression, nor can we make even a small dent in all the injustice of the world.
But each of us have a part in our brief little time here on earth. Each of us participate in the divine nature, in the history of the universe, and each of us individuals are just the one endangered species of our own kind, who can do something in the world in such a unique way that no one else can do.
I think most of us will ignore that burning hot passion to do justice, and we’ll go back to Facebook and our phones and our planners and laugh it up. And maybe we do that because we’re afraid to face the horror. But I also believe that many of us are scared of our own ability, and that we actually can do something great, and we just don’t want the responsibility of such God-given power. I believe we are more scared of the light than the dark, because it is so much harder and more terrifying to do good than evil.
My friend, I cannot rebuke everyone for their lack of sympathy. I can’t yell on my blog to make others do something, or this will only be an external apparatus that forces behavioral change. I can only be changed by God myself and go do justice, and act justly. I can donate to churches in Iraq (which I did) and pray for the Christians and Muslims there (which I have) and raise awareness (which I could do more of). And if God does call you to become involved at the government level or to be a missionary there or to lead the charity efforts, then my friend, you are much braver than I, and I hope others such as myself will join you in every way that we can.
The hard part is not to get bitter. Not to get overwhelmed. Not to be distraught. Not to sneer at others. But simply do your part.
I pray you will receive this in a spirit of gentleness and love, because I want to encourage you and nothing else. You have a special burden in your heart for a certain people, and I pray you will find every way you can to be God’s instrument for them, and that others might join in your wonderful journey.
Godspeed and God bless.
I’ve donated to ChristianAid.org for their Iraq Crisis Appeal. They’re directly at ground level. Please check them out here.
11 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Care More About Persecuted Christians?”
JS. Very insightful. Fear doesn’t help though it’s natural given the days we are in. And it can all be overwhelming. But we can only do our part and if we all we do our part, change will happen. I’m flying to India in two day for some mission work. Hoping to do some follow up mission work. You can read about it on my blog, but I was so impressed with how a community and beyond came together and the real help it gave. Blessings
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Holly, I’m praying for you right now for your trip to India. While I’m a skeptical cynic when it comes to mission trips because of all the nightmare stories, I do think that missions also does an incredible amount of good that goes uncredited. Godspeed your journey and thanks for sharing. 🙂
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Thanks you JS! This is such a poor area. When we went after the tsunami hit we helped by buying the villages boats so that they could fish again. We also gave the village orphans CDs that wouldnt mature until ten years. That way no one could take their money. The tens years is nearly up so they can begin their adult lives with some money.
Amazing work. Praying for you and your team and the area today!
As an individual I can’t do everything. As the Body of Christ we can do anything. I have a passion for justice, but that is my calling. Someone else is called to help us keep our sense of humour. I do what I can, and make every effort to make sure I don’t expect everyone else to do my job (except all Christians are called to spread the Good News). We need each other. And we need to be honest about our skepticism, fear and prejudices. I am just a little finger, so I need what others bring and can do; it inspires me to keep going.
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Right on, David. Reminds me of Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
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Thanks for the insights. I’m definitely guilty of getting so overwhelmed by the all the injustice that I block it out, but Christians especially should be facing them head on. God convicted me through your words, so thank you!
To go along with this, I often struggle with guilt over using my money on myself. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t buy myself anything new or extra because other people haven nothing so who I am to buy a new shirt or new shoes. Why should I even save a penny when I could be giving all my savings to so many worth causes?
I think most Christians wrestle with this too, since God has opened our conscience to everything else outside our ego. It can be daunting. I do believe God wants us to enjoy what we have, yet also to be cautious of our greed, because like jealousy, it’s an invisible sin. All my years of counseling, I almost never hear a heart-rending confession of “I’m so greedy.” As C.S. Lewis says, the work of charity ought to cost us, to squeeze us, to put us in a less comfortable place, or it’s not sacrifice. That’s tough to do, and a process of faith for all of us.
I try to do what I can in the lives of those around me and trust in God to direct me and others where he can best use us. Whether that is here or there, only God knows. There’s spiritual needs in our own neighborhoods that also needs attention. Part of it seems to be growing more receptive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Likewise, we can only do as he leads us to. I just posted a story about how God used me in someone’s life. It was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything now.
While we in the “civilized” world have more wealth, we also seem to be the most miserable. It seems that those with so much less are the most happy. I do feel bad about the Christians being executed. If God leads me to such a death, I pray that I have the spiritual strength to praise him in it.
Hey John, thanks for your thoughts. I do think the church-culture recently has propped up too many “radical savior” stories where everyone wants to be significant by good works. But that neglects the blue-collar guy, housewife, middle school kid, and the everyday ordinary works that can God do too. I believe many of us are called to such radical missions (more than we’d like to admit ourselves), but that those in a “home-base” calling also can find ways to take care of their neighbors and the poor across the street. Either way, God always puts us in a grid where we can do something and do it bravely.
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Really- that’s why I started this blog: https://encounteringjesusandhismission.wordpress.com/