Thinking about this word this morning, I realize we live in a perpetual state of crisis. Mike and I were talking about this and how we have been systematically desensitized to the pain of other people and of other nations. Just think for a moment, we are inundated with horrific scenes.
- Orlando: 49 dead and at least 53 injured. Worst terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11. Responsibility claimed by ISIS.
- Killing a priest before his congregation in France. Responsibility claimed by ISIS.
- Nightclub shooting leaves two teens dead.
- The death toll of US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- The body of a motorcycle rider…dead as I drive by.
I’m traumatized just writing these brief examples. However, our typical response appears to be: “Oh, it happened again.” What happened to our outrage? What happened to our compassion? What happened to our empathy? So you know, I am guilty of this response! If my emotions were engaged with every horrifying act I heard about or saw, I would be rendered unable to cope. I am no less at risk for becoming desensitized than anyone else.
The problem, as I see it, our hearts are being hardened to the violence in our world. It surrounds us. We see it on social media, on mainstream TV and movies, the news, and video games. I invite you to ponder this for a bit. The process started quite a while ago.
For example, I remember buying the original PlayStation. We bought a game, loaded it into the console and played. We played Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Guitar Hero, baseball, and bowling. We only allowed E rated games in our home. There were T and M rated games out there, Final Fantasy 7 and Resident Evil 2 being two of the more popular. Needless to say, we weren’t the most popular parents on the block.
Many technological advancements have been made in the gaming industry. Now, you get online and play “live” with people you have never met except in this virtual world. The enhancements in display quality and power of gaming consoles can now immerses the player in a realistic 3D experience. What does that mean? When the player presses a button to shoot someone, if they get a hit it looks real. Yep, completed with blood and gore.
We were at a mall today picking up some last minute needs before we head out in the first leg of our epic loop. I stopped into a gaming store and snapped a quick pick of the best selling play station games for this store. As you can see, the top three are M rated. I had to scan down to the fourth shelf to find the first E rated game.
We invite violence into our homes. If you are thinking you don’t, what about the movies we watch, sites we visit on the web, music we listen to, and books we read. It’s no wonder we are desensitized to the pain and suffering of those around us. I’ve walked by a woman sitting on a bench sobbing her heart out. I never want to do that again! I pray the Father softens my heart so I can see those He wants me to comfort. I would want someone to sit down and check in with me if I was the sobbing woman. I can’t imagine how she felt as 10s and maybe 100s of people walked past with their eyes and hearts averted.
I need a soft heart. God tells me to: “…warn those who are unruly, comfort the faint hearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” 1 Thes. 5:14. I am also told in 2 Cor. 1:4 God “comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
What does this look like? The way I understand it, only by seeking to know Christ more…am I able to provide comfort. He comforts me as I draw closer to Him and God is therefore able to provide true comfort through me to a suffering spirit. He may also open a door where He uses me to share the Good News of salvation.
I am positive that the desensitization will get worse. We already ignore pleas for help involving our time. We turn our heads and hearts even quicker when our money is involved. There are children who are horrifically abused and neglected in each of our communities. Have you looked to see how you might be able to help? We ignore pleas for help for those who are hungry? Will you find out how you can feed someone in your community? We walk past the homeless and ignore the elderly. Do these people touch your heart? Will you stop and talk for a moment with the older person resting on a bench in the mall?
Are you comfortable operating in crisis mode where nothing gets to you?
Featured image: news.com.au