Monday, October 13, 2014

Why Did We Close Our Eyes?

A couple years ago, I had the privilege of reading the most influential sermon I've seen or heard to date. Unfortunately, I'd skipped church that day, so didn't get to hear it - but the Pastor was kind enough to let me read it. And, every so often, I find myself rereading it.

Simply put, it was about a school shooting, and how such things can occur - how someone can get so desperate enough as to open fire in an elementary school. A few days ago, this sermon came to mind again, although in regards to a different occurrence. In particular, it was one simple question he had asked in that sermon that came to mind: "Why did we close our eyes to the needs of one of God’s children...?"

Keeping Others Blind

As many people realize, children and adults whom are in abusive situations, often hide what they're going through. Many people can't understand this. Why didn't you tell someone? Why don't you tell a trusted friend, teacher, pastor, etc?

Now, I can't speak for everyone, but for me.. as a child, I did allow myself to trust a few people enough with my story. And they did nothing (or, in some cases, made things worse). Having someone do nothing intensifies much of what we already feel - ashamed, scared, guilty, bad, and especially betrayed and distrustful. So, we get to a point where we hide what is happening.

We can't feel betrayed by one's lack of action if they don't know there is something to act upon. We don't ask ourselves, or them, why they closed their eyes to our needs. Why they turned their backs on us. Why they didn't care enough.

A couple days ago, I found out my few trusted friends did know (at least to a degree) my situation. And did nothing. And I was thrown right back into those days as a young child when I made the decision to never let myself be betrayed again.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not mad at these friends. My initial reaction was, of course, one of anger and betrayal. But, this was years ago. And it matters little now. But, it did bring to mind that sermon question once again... and made me ask it in regards to myself (because, I know I tend to close my eyes as well)...

"Why did we close our eyes to the needs of one of God’s children?"

Right now, someone you know is being abused or bullied. Someone is being told they're worthless, and a waste of space.

Right now, someone you care about is going without a meal. Someone has no roof over their head, or decent clothes on their backs.

Right now, someone you know is depressed, or grieving, or in pain. Someone is feeling lonely and unloved and unwanted.

Right now, someone you care about is hurting themselves, or contemplating suicide. Someone is wanting to strike out at others to release their own pain.

It's so easy to turn a blind eye to all of these things. We might whisper about these things in our little gossip groups - "hey, did you hear Jim lost his job. Those poor kids...". But that's as far as it goes. We don't go out and ask Jim what he needs. We don't reach out a hand. We don't even offer him encouragement. We pretend we don't see the hardship he's going through. When it comes to abuse, we don't even want to talk about that. To admit we see it would make us have to do something about it. So we close our eyes.

Stop Closing Your Eyes (and Hearts)!

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

How much less evil and hurt would there be in the world if we all made a commitment to open our eyes and our hearts? And, keep them open?

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