It's okay if you're overwhelmed—I am too.
You're a 21st century citizen, connected to the world through wires and screens, and you wish turning off the news was as simple as it used to be—the push of a button or the folding of paper.
It's not that you don't care. You just don't know where to look and there are other things on your mind as well. Fake news demands to be sifted lest everyone finds out that you've forgotten how to use your brain.
Your conscience can't decide—are you lazy or just tired?
Human trafficking, white supremacists, climate change, housing prices, homelessness, world hunger, terrorism, endless wars; your love life; the nagging sense that you aren't doing enough for the Kingdom of God while your friends and family rush toward God's judgement. All these things fly around your head and you wonder how anyone sleeps at night.
If this isn't you, take a moment to give thanks.
On the other hand, perhaps you've got your head in the sand.
God in the streets
As an artist, my job is to ask questions. I point to random details of our creation and I tie bows between them. I try to stir up some curiosity and wonder.
Sometimes, I wonder why some Christians seem to care about the word of God and some care about social justice. That seems like utter madness to me. If you care about the word of God, you will listen to it and find that God is passionate about social justice. The book of Isaiah is wonderfully incisive and insightful on the subject.
God's heart is emphatically for both justice and mercy, and he longs for us to be passionate about what He is passionate about.
Christ cares for the least of these, for the poor and needy, for widows and orphans. He cares for those who can't help themselves.
God is not confined to paper, nor is he concerned only with what happens in churches. Christ went to work among the crowds, ate with sinners and prostitutes. The Spirit of God hovers over the streets, calling life out of death. Will you join Him?
Biting and devouring
God's people are a people divided. We're such a diverse lot, gathered from the four winds and every nook and cranny of the Earth. We are racially and politically diverse. We are from different cultures and are in different contexts. It's easy to let these things to get in the way. It's easy to let ethical decisions and hobby horses pull us apart.
One hates abortions and another hates poverty. One is a committed environmentalist and another a dedicated child sponsor. We butt heads. How could you not care about what I care so passionately about? How could you be so blind?
"If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other."
—Galatians Chapter 5, verse 15
"Is this not the fast I choose... to share your bread with the hungry?"
—Isaiah Chapter 58, verses 6 and 7
In the final analysis, faith that is invisible is dead. How do you show you care? How are you mucking in to God's good work in the world?
Is He moving you to pray for your government?
Is He drawing you to fight sexual slavery?
Is He calling you to open your wallet as well as your heart?
What matters is that we are engaging somehow. There are so many broken pieces of our world that it's perfectly possible to turn off, or to blinker ourselves, thinking there's only one real injustice in the world because we can't handle it all.
We're created beings. We're finite, but our Creator is all powerful. Let's pray to Him, asking Him to be at work to end injustice in our world, starting within us. We can only do so much, but we have a direct line to the Sovereign Lord of Heaven, who delights to hear our prayers. Let's keep an open mind, remembering there was once a time when the most important thing in the world, Christ, wasn't even approaching the edge of our radars.
We can trust that God is in charge and at work. He is absolutely thrilled when we want to get stuck in to His work too.
Matthew Joils is Christchurch based artist. He is passionate about mission and sustainability.
Matthew Joils' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/matthew-joils.html