I was on fire for the Lord when I first became a Christian. I wanted to share the Gospel with everyone, so I took a Chaplain course at a church I was attending. The first class explained its mission statement, and we listened to the course instructor’s lectures about what it meant to be a Chaplain. I was very excited to serve the community until I saw a video of a nursing home. Although the footage showed a large group of older men and women interacting with one another, my eyes caught an older woman sitting alone by a window. Tears poured out of my eyes, and I cried so loudly the Chaplain walked over with a tissue box. I couldn’t control the grief within me; however, the Chaplain told me that God was grieving through me, which made me even more sorrowful.
I thought of a woman who came to have lunch every day at a restaurant I worked at. She sat alone by a window, and now and then, I would catch her looking at me. I was always busy working on the floor, and as soon as the rush was over, I was anxious to get home to my kids.
Finally, one day, I saw her sadness and walked over to talk to her. She told me she raised three children alone because her husband went to work one day and never returned; he abandoned her and their children. She also said now that her children were grown, they rarely visited her. Of course, she justified their indifference by stating they were busy and had children. Most people make excuses to ease the pain within. They aren’t blind and nieve; they see their child could live around the block and rarely see them, yet they will drive to another town to see another relative or help a stranger. Jesus called the Pharisees’ whitewashed tombs because they showed off on the outside, yet their hearts were evil because they walked around with costly robes. They gave where everyone could see and say how wonderful they were, yet, their widowed mothers were alone and without basic needs.
- Matthew 23:23 (NIV) “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness. It would be best if you practiced the latter without neglecting the former.
We know in our hearts when we are being indifferent to someone; we make excuses as to why we don’t do anything; we think about all the times that person failed us, or without any facts, we assume things that aren’t true. Jesus says there is no greater love than a man who lays down his life for his friend. But what about the older parent or neighbor you don’t know personally but see them trying their best to be independent because no one comes to visit? Most elderly aren’t proud; they stopped asking for help because of the excuses or condemnation from their grown children and grandchildren, who forgot what it took to raise them, and for some, single parents. When we make excuses for not caring, it’s called indifference.
The sad reality crushed my heart when I saw the woman in the video sitting alone by the window, waiting for her children to come to visit her, but no one came.