This I Believe

Jarrad - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Entered on December 8, 2006

Live Lovingly not Apathetically

I should probably forewarn you that I deal in black and white; grays simply aren’t my cup of tea. Something is or it isn’t, one can either love or hate; indifference is a facade, a guilty illusion that one creates to cover over their hate. When you look on someone else’s plight I believe it is impossible to do so with mere indifference. Either you look at their suffering with hate by refusing them your support or you look at their suffering with love by offering them whatever means of support you are able to. It is impossible to look on the suffering of five year olds who are sexually molested by the head of an orphanage and be merely indifferent, or at least it was for me when I saw them.

When I was thirteen I went to Odessa, Ukraine for a mission trip. It was our team’s responsibility to repair and refurbish a tuberculosis orphanage so that its inhabitants could make it through the rough Ukrainian winter. When I was there I saw things I will never forget, injustices that no one seems comfortable talking about. I saw children who were malnourished, sexually molested by their caretakers, and outcasts of their own society. These children lived with very little hope of anything: few are adopted, few escape the Ukrainian social system, and very few become productive members of society.

I had a choice to make, either try to inspire hope in these children with my love or hate them with the strength I could otherwise use for love; taking an apathetic stance towards them just wasn’t an option because I had seen too much of their suffering to be indifferent. I chose to love them. It may seem curious to some people to say that I chose to love these children, but it was exactly that. I could have chosen to waste my energy on becoming angry at their situation, but it wouldn’t have benefited them at all. My anger can accomplish nothing, it can’t effect major change, but my love is stronger, it can reach to people and give hope and that is why I chose to love.

I find myself with same belief now that I had then; I must live lovingly not apathetically. As a Christian it is my calling to live as Christ, to live lovingly; therefore I find myself unable to look away from other people’s plight and suffering. Instead I look straight into it and do what I can to change any such situation of suffering with my love. Granted my resources are limited and I don’t have much to offer at the moment, but I still care, I still love. I won’t allow the disease of apathy to grow in my heart. I will not allow it to choke out the love I have so painstakingly maintained there, because love is the only thing I have worth giving.