18 Apr 2007

The Greatest Threat

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Contemporary Ethics, Discipleship, Jesus, Kingdom

The Greatest Threat?

It sounds a bit presumptuous to identify anyone or anything as the “greatest” of its order. Yet there is a greatest person, a greatest commandment, and a greatest sin. A while back I read a piece that raised the possibility of naming the greatest threat to life, joy, faith, virtue, and all other good things.

Elie Wiesel survived the Auschwitz and Buchenwald death camps of Nazi Germany. He speaks and writes extensively concerning the Holocaust. It is his conviction that man’s inhumanity to man during that awful time must not be forgotten, lest it be repeated.

Something Wiesel said in an interview sometime back has stuck in my mind. He said, “Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, its indifference. Because of indifference, one dies before he actually dies. To be in the window and watch people being sent to concentration camps or being attacked in the street and do nothing, that’s being dead.”

Indifference. Maybe it is the greatest threat to virtue. It is easy for example, to imagine the following:

People die, not because we steal their bread, but because we refuse to notice or care that they have none.

Community morality erodes, not because we introduce or practice great evils, but because we are silent as others do so.

Neighbors are lost, not because we seduce them into sin, but because we fail to tell them that God sent a Savior

It is better to question and argue with God than to ignore him (see Job and Ecclesiastes). It is better to ask the hard questions of faith than pretend they aren’t there.

It is far better to fight a personal vice or community ill and fail than to pretend there is no problem.

Surely the ultimate insult to Jesus the Nazarene is cool indifference. G.A. Studdert-Kennedy wrote of the cruelty of the men who put Jesus on a cross and murdered him. In the same poem, he wrote of the gentler spirit with which Jesus would be treated if he were to come to our generation. We would likely just pass him by, causing him no pain and leaving him to his own devices.

In Studdert-Kennedy’s poem, he pictured Jesus crouching against a wall and crying out for Calvary. Is it impossible?

Bobby Valentine

4 Responses to “The Greatest Threat”

  1. Gary Kirkendall Says:

    Wonderful thoughts — keep caring, keep slugging away!

  2. Tim Archer Says:

    Someone once said that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.

    Grace and peace,

  3. Greg Says:

    Powerful thoughts, Bobby.

  4. F.deSales Says:

    What was that the Lord said about the lukewarm… that he would spew them out of his mouth…

    Indifferent= lukewarm.

    Elie Wiesel was always good for a deep thought.

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