“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
We have a lot to be thankful for, and a great deal to be frightened about. It’s too bad we spend so much time possessed by our fears, and too little time being thankful. But that’s human nature, isn’t it? And after all, we do have a lot of reasons to be afraid.
We live in, by leaps and bounds, the most violent industrialized society in the entire world. The number of guns almost matches the number of people. We have become kill-crazy, and because we’ve become kill-crazy we tell ourselves we need more guns, not fewer, to make us feel secure and safe. If this doesn’t scare us, it should.
We live in the one country of the world that has abundant resources. If we tried, we could literally feed the world. Yet 3 out of 5 Kindergarten through 8th grade teachers say they regularly have kids in their classroom who come to school hungry. Twenty percent of the children in our country are consistently hungry. If this doesn’t scare us, it should.
In our nation, 47 million people live in poverty. And we know what poverty breeds. It breeds violence, among other social ills. Yet we have a mindset in our country that says we need to reduce the taxes the rich pay. If this doesn’t scare us, it should.
Our country is the only industrialized nation in the world that still executes prisoners, some of whom were mere children when convicted. And we do so knowing that a full 10% of these people are innocent, while most of the rest of them have received totally inadequate legal representation. If this doesn’t scare us, it should.
So what’s the point I’m trying to make here? It’s simple. We’re afraid of the wrong things. We need to be afraid of hunger. We need to be afraid of injustice. We need to be afraid of the chasm between the wealthy and the poor. We need to be afraid of our response to violence. Why? Because scripture tells us God will judge us harshly for allowing these things to destroy human life. Because Christ calls us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, reach out to the prisoners and condemn a society where a few have much while so many have so little.
Yup, we’re afraid of a lot of things. But we’re not afraid enough of the most important thing – God’s judgment for letting all this get so out of hand.