Often times, we are led to believe the enemy of love’ is ‘hate.’ Most people know hatred can become sin. Hating Yeshua, Jesus, can even become an emotional decision to hate the One who sent Him. According to the laws of Moses we read this week in Ki Tetze a person hung on a tree was cursed. How much more real the actual cost of our sin FEELS when we choose to accept the sacrificial love of God in sending His own Son into the world to become the actual CURSE of the law for our eternal souls! Truly, His death is a piece of recorded history even the most stoic can’t refute. Sadly, it seems to me that the stoic, the unfeeling, far outnumber the haters in this world.
I believe the true enemy of ‘love’ is not hate, but much more so – INDIFFERENCE. Indifference is defined as “unemotional apathy,” or “unbiased impartiality.” Look around you and wake up! Turning a “blind eye” to the suffering of people around us is a clear and present danger. Followers of Yeshua have to guard their heart against the sin of indifference. Realize that far more people are indifferent to Yeshua than actually hate Him: the babe, the rabbi or the offering for sin. Indifference to people’s pain is the fruit from being indifferent to the natural fruit born of their bad choices! Truly, it is the blindness of humanity to feel the NEED for God’s forgiveness, especially for our apathy and selfishness, that truly baffles me.
So, in this month of Elul, as we look for our soon coming Messianic King to return with the blast of the shofar this Rosh Hashana, I am looking for a way to help you rouse yourself! Complacency toward the suffering of others may be blinding you from seeing this new year’s potential harvest. Please allow me to use four simple – but fascinating – quotes to help you reframe the law of Moses through the eyes of Yeshua.
“Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.” – Libbie Fudim
Libbie Fudim’s quote challenges me to stop trying to build my life around being ‘liked.’ If I only spend time with people I like, looking to be liked, how am I emulating my Savior? Since when was being hated for your beliefs a BAD thing among Messiah’s followers? How can I love the unlovable, and avoid what God hates at the same time?
“If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.” – George Christoph Lichtenberg
George Christoph Lichtenberg’s quote challenges me to CHOOSE what to moderate this year. Do I moderate conversations I should walk away from instead – just to fit in? Should I just let one more awkward – but finely tuned – online commercial encouraging another’s anti-Biblical lifestyle choice go by? When I know our children are being targeted by data miners, but I’m sure the adult pseudo-sexual humor in children’s movies is over their head anyway, am I guilty before God for laughing?
“Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment.” – Ellie Wiesel
Ellie Wiesel’s quote challenges me to remember that we are creating the world today that our children will be living in tomorrow. I wonder if my sense of frustration with more information available everywhere and less personal engagement between people in the same room is the punishment for trading indifference for love. It takes very little to text rather than call and actually feel the emotion of another’s tone of voice.
“Tolerance is another word for indifference.” – W. Somerset Maugham
Somerset Maugham’s quote challenges me to remember that freedom IS NOT just another word for ‘nothing left to loose.’ Our spiritual freedom cost the payment of Yeshua’s suffering. He suffered. And, He gave me my life back to be an agent of His glory – His love – for other’s suffering all around me.
In this season of Elul, when we look inside to see our need for God’s forgiveness, this week’s Bible reading reminds us to provide for widows and orphans and treat others with dignity and not take advantage of people in lesser circumstances. I know these are all important. Yeshua made it easy to remember with the command to “Love God and Love One Another.” Today, I want to remember that loving each other goes beyond simply DO NO HARM. Love one another means look and see and CARE about others.
A Real-Life Example
Let me give you a real life example of how I saw God move in my son Joseph’s life. A few days ago, he was busy with an enormous task counting thousands of Bibles in a warehouse while I was on my way to a conference. He called me shaken, stressed out about the numbers not making sense and worried that I would be angry that he wasn’t able to complete the count. I wasn’t upset with the task being incomplete – just the opposite actually! I was filled with love and concern about how much stress this was for him. He has a pregnant wife, a huge work load back at the office, and now this task seemed overwhelming.
The TONE of his words caught my heart. I’m so glad he called. A text would have just gone unnoticed. I stopped him mid-sentence and said, “Listen, we can handle this in a few days when I get back. Go take some time to bring over a gift card to that friend of ours whose father is facing a brain tumor, pray with him, and get home to your wife in time for dinner. Don’t worry about this stuff right now. You take care of God’s business and He will take care of yours. Everything will be okay.” Joe’s such a hard worker, and it was tough to put his burden down, but he listened.
The next day, he happily texted me that everything was counted, accounted for, and ready to ship out. Replies of congratulations filled the group chat. I was in the middle of speaking, so I wasn’t able to reply right away. But, a few hours later, God reminded me call him.
Here is how the call went:
“Hey! So I was happy to hear the count went smoothly! Getting ready for Shabbat tonight?” I laughed.
“Oh, yeah! It all worked out just perfectly. God really came through for us.” He replied.
“I knew you could do it. How did it go with your friend? How’s his dad?” I asked.
“We went over and prayed for them, and brought them a meal, and they were so grateful. We spent about an hour or so, it felt so good to be there for them.” He answered.
“I’m so glad. That’s the most important thing, living what we believe. It’s pretty cool that God made it easy for you today when you put His heart first.” I smiled.
“I know. God is so amazing. We’ve just been working so hard to get everything pulled together, sometimes we just lose sight of what’s really important – the people.” He sighed.
I was so proud! I knew God had touched his heart and settled his stressful crisis the day before. The truth about loving God is that you can’t fully love Him without loving His people. So avoid indifference about people and embrace indifference about things. In God’s economy, it’s the people that matter – not the things.