I am worried about our future. Despite our economic prosperity, I fear we are becoming a heartless culture, a closed and unwelcoming place where the rule is to grab whatever you can for yourself and deny it to anyone else. Injustice, violence, and corruption seem to be multiplying, with no solution or end in sight. I do not say this in a partisan way. In fact, partisan heel-digging is part of the problem. We are more concerned about promoting our particular point of view and denying anything to the person with an opposing viewpoint than we are about imitating Jesus. We are more concerned with ensuring that our own benefit is the highest priority than we are about serving God. Trashing everyone else’s ideas just because they are someone else’s is more important than finding the common threads of each idea and working to build something better.
Jesus didn’t teach this. In fact, he lashed out at the leaders of his day, saying, “They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor.” It sounds so much like our “me-first” world today, in which it doesn’t matter if others are suffering as long as I’m not.
Again, God cries out to us: “Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Come now, let us set things right.”
The only question is: Are we listening? Are we adding to the morality and justice of our society, or diminishing it? Are we redressing the wrong or enabling the wrong-doers? In our own relationships, are we spreading peace and harmony or division and mistrust? Are we focused on giving or on grasping?
The bottom line: Would an objective observer know by our actions and words that we are disciples of Jesus Christ? Or in the words I often heard when I was growing up – If we were on trial for being Christians, would there be enough evidence to convict us?
God is pleading with us. Are we listening?
Amy Florian is a teacher and consultant working in Chicago. For many years she has partnered with the Passionists. Visit Amy’s website: http://www.corgenius.com/.