The Danger of Indifference
by Madeline Mann - February 12, 2019
Have you ever considered what the opposite of love is? Some would say it’s hate. But there is another emotion that can also contrast with love. That emotion is indifference.
According to Dictionary.com, to be “indifferent” is to be “neither good nor bad in character or quality.” Consider what God says to the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:16: “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
The Laodiceans do not know they are miserable and say they have need of nothing. In the previous verse Jesus wishes that the lukewarm church were either cold or hot (verse 15). That would be better than being totally indifferent. So indifference is a spiritual condition we should be alert to in our lives.
The evil of indifference
When we are indifferent, we have a lack of interest or concern. Now this isn’t particularly a bad thing when it’s applied to an ordinary topic you don’t care much about (let’s say skiing). However, when it is applied to people and God’s way of life, it’s an entirely different story.
Recently I’ve been studying slavery in history class. When I read about how slaves were treated, I wondered how human beings could treat other human beings that way. “How could slave owners hate these people so much?” I thought.
But my professor offered another way to look at it. Was this hate? It might seem to be, but the people who sold and bought slaves had no reason to hate the people they enslaved. Instead, they saw them as property. They were indifferent to their humanity and their worth as human beings made in God’s image.
Treat all as God does
God hates indifference towards fellow humans because it is the opposite of His character of love. He is not indifferent to any person created in His image. There’s no one He doesn’t care about or want the best for (2 Peter 3:9). He does not pass over a single person in His thoughts.
Christ said we should be the same way: “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. … For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:27-36).
We are God’s growing family, and we should all be alert to the warning to the Laodicean church. We must beware of becoming spiritually dead, loveless and indifferent.
One of the best ways to not be like this is to look at Jesus Christ’s example and how He showed constant love for God and other people. He didn’t treat anyone with indifference. God’s mercy and grace toward us are the opposite of indifference, so let’s strive to love as God loves us.
To learn more about the message to seventh church of Revelation, read about “Laodicea.”