It is subtle, silent and penetrating. You don't realize his presence until one day you ask yourself, “Why don't I care about my relationship with God? Why don't I feel anything towards Him and towards others?». Her name: Apathy. She is the killer of interest and who poisons perseverance. Apathy likes to disguise itself as an innocent state of disconnection from reality, as a temporary feeling of boredom in the face of habits, tasks and plans that previously excited us. But her true nature is sinful.
Apathy is a deadly sin of indifference that hardens our hearts, infects our daily routine, and makes us numb to who God is and what he has done for us. Its effect is that of a powerful paralytic that destroys our relationship with God and the development of spiritual disciplines.
In this article I want to share with you four traits to identify the sin of apathy —which begins to manifest itself in your relationship with God—, so that when you recognize it, you can uproot it.
the pride of apathy
In the Bible we do not find the word "apathy", but we do find the phrase "and they forgot God" (Ps 78:11; 106:21; Dt 4:23; Judg 3:6; 8:34). The pride of apathy begins when we forget about God's daily presence. So, pride hardens our hearts, we assume the role of God and try to become the authors of our own morality. When looking for our leading role, indifference becomes the escape to live under our rules and conditions.
The pride of apathy begins when we forget the daily presence of God
The pride of apathy says: "I know what is best for me, I do not need to depend on or answer to anyone. It's my life". Many times, this attitude comes after a period where we have experienced God's goodness and provision (cf. Dt 8:8-14; 32:15-18). Consider, for example, the people of Israel: they received innumerable divine blessings when they were rescued from Egypt, but after entering the promised land, they forgot their Creator and fell into a downward spiral of immorality and destruction, because "everyone was doing something wrong." what seemed good to them" (Judges 21:25).
The sloth of apathy
Many times I have chosen to sleep a little longer, instead of getting up to pray; I preferred to browse social networks, instead of reading the Bible or spending time with fellow believers. Indifference decides that the spiritual disciplines are a burden rather than a delight. Thus, the laziness of apathy keeps us from all the blessings, situations, and relationships that bring us closer to God (cf. Pr 13:4).
The Word calls us to be good stewards of what God has given us (1 Pet 4:10), to be diligent in doing good (Rom 12:11), and to work patiently for our sanctification (Heb 6:12). We know that we sin if we do not do these things (James 4:17); however, the laziness of apathy judges perseverance as difficult and tiresome, so it despises the responsibilities and daily habits that contribute to our growth.
The selfishness of apathy
"It's easier," one person told me when asked about his apathy. "I feel like I don't want to do anything, just be with me and at peace." But if we decide to remain in the comfort of being alone with ourselves, how will we obey the commandment of Christ when he tells us that "those who live no longer live for themselves" (1 Cor 5:15), or the commandment to love others? God and others (Jn 13:34-36)?
The most effective way to fight apathy is by cultivating a heart of love, adoration and constant gratitude towards God.
By putting our desire for comfort first, apathy promotes selfishness and makes us cold before God and others, especially those in need or pain. Thus, little by little, we experience the absence of mercy towards others. So to speak, we stop being an image of Christ and become an image of sin.
The lie of apathy
Whenever the Holy Spirit convicted me of the sin of apathy, I tried to defend myself based on my works: "I read the Bible, I go to church, I share the gospel, I do my work, I am 'good' and I have meaningful relationships with believers. I do what I have to do." However, the lie of apathy often consists of showing us only our good behavior and good deeds, to tell us, "All is well" (cf. Eph 2:8-9). But God also looks at the motivations and worship of our hearts.
Many times, without realizing it, we found identity in how others see us, in our services within the church or in our devotional and prayer times. Although many of these things are good, they are useless without the right motivation to know God and enjoy Him.
What is the antidote for apathy?
Apathy goes beyond lazy, selfish, proud and deluded behavior, it is an internal attitude. To identify it, we need to see our heart before our behavior. However, the godly life does reflect a wise course: we must strive, but also rest; avoid laziness, but do not go to exhaustion; share with others, as well as retire in quietness and adoration of God.
The good news is that we have hope, because Christ paid for our apathy (Rom 3:23-25)! He was not lazy about the mission to die for our sins. He was not proud to strip himself of his glory to grant us forgiveness. He was not selfish in adopting us into his family. He was not fooled by the tricks of the enemy.
Thanks to the goodness of God, the sacrifice of Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit, we can recognize our sin of indifference, confess it in repentance, and receive His forgiveness. We can do this while marveling once more at the beauty of God, the faithfulness of his works, and the grace of his gospel. By contemplating God precious and clinging to his means of grace, we can begin to persevere in spiritual disciplines and see, in the work of Christ, a God who is sensitive and compassionate to our weaknesses (Heb 4: 14-16).
The most effective way to fight apathy is by cultivating a heart of love, adoration and constant gratitude towards God. This will show us the divine closeness and continuing mercy of him, so that our relationship with him and with others will be rekindled. The more we cultivate it (Ps 34: 1), the more we will experience what the Lord has prepared for us through his gospel: we will enjoy Him, while we announce and extend his compassion.