Part of the Problem

randomlychad  —  September 15, 2015 — 1 Comment


(Zoom in to see the evangelist on the left, and the homeless man on his knees on the right).

You’ve heard the old saw: “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.” This I think is true. I have a problem. Like a substantial majority of folks, I’m fairly glued to my phone, have binge watched Netflix until all hours, and generally fritter away precious time on Twitter and/or Facebook. I find myself to be highly distractable and unfocused. Beyond that, it’s far easier to glide through life as a spectator, rather than as a participant. Case in point: while my wife was out of town, my son and I took three movies. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but it didn’t even dawn on me that perhaps we should at least attempt to visit her aged grandmother at her nursing home until late in the week (we didn’t make it). Oh, we made time to workout, eat out, video game.

But the week by-and-large was fairly self-absorbed. I even made time to hit the bookstore, buying more books than I’ll read in a month.

But compassion, other-awareness? Rather lacking. My life is so busy with work, working out, obligations, that in my downtimes I don’t think about much beyond me. It’s become an ingrained way of life.

A rut I don’t know how to break out of.

Nowhere was this more true than when I observed a street preacher doing his thing, proclaiming the judgment of God upon a sinful society, right across the street from a homeless man begging his daily bread. What I, and everyone else crossing the street, didn’t see was the street preacher put down his sign (“Back the Bible, or back to the jungle”), and go over to help the homeless man. I noticed that not one person, nary a single soul, took a tract from him. Yet what did I do other than observe? I took the time to take a picture, return to my office, get lunch…

When it dawned on me that I hadn’t done anything for, or been Jesus to, the homeless man, upon finally returning I saw he was being loaded into an ambulance. This was a lesson to me. We can have all the right words, speak the Gospel truth, but if that truth isn’t backed up with corresponding actions it makes our witness of bull effect.

There are similar needs around me everyday, and yet it gets harder and harder to lift up my eyes to see, and to open my heart to care.

I wonder: do you find yourself in the same place today?

Make no mistake: the world is watching. Are we part of the problem, or part of the solution?

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email
  • What a terrific post.

    I
    certainly have found myself in similar situations. Most certainly with
    Twitter in the past. (Thankfully I never really hooked into Facebook.)
    And it is indeed easier to plop down on the couch after work and burn
    through the overloaded DVR.

    The great thing is that knowing it, and talking about it, is an opportunity. One that a lot of people don’t even get.

    Many
    people go through these motions without being conciously aware that
    things aren’t okay. They may feel a nagging melencholy, but they don’t
    know why. Instead of figuring that out, they return to the distractions
    of Chopped marathons and Law and Order reruns. We built a society
    around distraction, rather than deep thinking and consideration.

    The rut, as you call it, is indeed hard to get out of.

    What’s
    been helpful for me, over the years, is taking those moments to stop
    inside the rut. Take stock instead of continuing forward. Leaving the TV
    off for an hour to talk through life with my wife, even if we return to
    the TV after that. Moving my phone’s Twitter app icon so I’m CONSCIOUS
    about the fact that I unconsciously flipped it open and tapped in
    without my brain actually working. (Making it one step removed from
    “easy” really helps to make you aware.) And above all, checking in with
    God about what I should be doing.

    Sometimes
    I worry that if I ask Him, He’s going to send me to Africa to do
    missionary work. I don’t want to go to Africa. So I don’t ask, because
    that’s a valid option and if He told me that directly, what would I do?
    Ignore it? That would be awful.

    Yet
    so far when I HAVE checked in, He’s never told me to go to Africa. It’s
    the people around me He keeps pushing me towards. “Little” things that
    aren’t really little at all. Your elderly grandmother, for example.
    Tomorrow I will head to a nursing home to visit an old friend who is, at
    this point, just waiting to die. She has had a very hard life, and it’s
    hard to sit and listen, but it’s what I should do. And when I’m done, I
    will be so much happier that I did what I was supposed to do. And it
    will give me more peace than firing up The Last Man on Earth on my DVR.

    We’re
    never going to be content distracting ourselves. Oh it will give us the
    temporary buzz of any drug we might come across, but there’s no lasting
    joy. But boy, it is hard to break free from. Just ask anyone who’s in
    rehab. It’s so, so hard, no matter what your drug of choice is.

    Worth it, though.