Excerpt taken from “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” a devotional booklet for Lent written by Pastor Bill Cwirla
The wounds of apathy afflict us. Lazarus lay at the gate of a man who had all the resources in the world to help him. He likely saw Lazarus as he was dining in luxury, but his apathetic heart, hardened by greed and unbelief, would not reach out to the beggar, whose only physicians were the dogs licking his sores.
We, too, have callously looked on the beggar lying at our gate. We have averted our eyes, turned our heads, and closed our pocketbooks to Lazarus in his need. Perhaps we have justified ourselves by saying, “The state should do something,” or “Lazarus must have done something to deserve this. Why doesn’t he go and get a job?”
We have also been Lazarus in our own way, ignored in our time of need. The need may have been slight-a small favor at an opportune moment. Or the need may have been great–a family illness or crisis. We may have been let down by those close to us, even our congregation of pastor. The wounds of apathy hurt more than the need itself.
Apathy to others is the result of our humanity’s self-orientation, our “taking care of number one.” The condition comes inherited from Adam and Eve, who hid from God and blamed each other in their self-centeredness. Martin Luther called original sin “the heart curved in on itself.” Consumed with self, we are apathetic to others, without compassion, feeling, and understanding.
Jesus, in His humanity, has turned our humanity right side out to God and to neighbor. His is the compassionate heart of God, beating with undeserved kindness for the sinner in need. In our repentance, God breaks our stony, apathetic hearts and replaces them with new hearts that beat in sync with the heart of Christ. He forgives what we have failed to do, and He makes something good out of the wounds of our apathy.
Pastor Cwirla is an excellent bible teacher. He is often interviewed on my favorite radio show Issues Etc and recently did a series on the parables. Listen here