It wasn’t until the death of George Floyd that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the part my apathy had played in racism.
Out of the 807,391 words used in the New American Standard Version of the Bible, the word “apathy” does not appear one time. And the word “apathy” does not appear even once in the other top ten selling English translations of the Bible.
But a well-known synonym for apathy does appear in a verse in each of the top selling Bible translations –
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Revelation 3:15-17)
Most Christians think that term describes believers who give their lives to the Lord at a Jesus Crusade and then fall away, no longer fellowshipping with other believers, praying or reading their Bibles. They have their stay-out-of-Hell fire insurance card and that’s good enough for them.
Is this an accurate description of all lukewarm believers?
Let’s check out my life on the morning the Holy Spirit pointed His finger at my sin of apathy:
I climbed out of bed at 4:30 a.m. that morning and spent two and half hours in prayer. I read the Bible for sixty minutes and listened to some teachings by Mike Bickle on my iPhone throughout the afternoon as I worked. Plus, I fasted two days that week.
This was not an atypical day or week for me. It is the routine which I have followed for over thirty years. It does not matter whether I am struggling through the worst of times or enjoying a season of blessings, I continue to plod along and seek the Lord. It is my life.
One of the prayers I prayed that morning, as I do almost every morning, was this one from a psalm by King David:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)
“Point out anything in me that offends You, Lord.”
There is not much I could say to the Lord when He answered this prayer by pointing out my sin of apathy, except, “Forgive me, Lord.”
Normally, I just keep on walking with Him and don’t look back after I ask the Lord for forgiveness. I know He isn’t angry with me nor does He love me less because I sinned and fell short of His glory. Yet, on that morning, I felt like I needed more information and asked, “Lord, how did I end up being lukewarm in my love toward my black brothers and sisters? “
The Lord eventually dropped His answer into my spirit. It was far different than I thought it would be – like hello! Doesn’t that always seem to be the case?
The Lord reminded me how for the first fifteen years after my salvation, I did not listen to newscasts or follow politics. I felt it was a waste of my time when compared to seeking Him.
This changed in early 2000 when I read a prophecy spoken by a man I admired – Bob Jones. “A burning bush shall come out of Texas and be elected the next president of the United States,” he prophesied.
Jones’ prophetic words stirred me to follow politics and to begin listening to newscasts and a few conservative radio shows while I drove my truck. I soon began thinking the GOP was God’s Own Party and the Democrats were controlled by Satan and his minions.
Almost 90% of black Americans vote for Democratic candidates. Thus, love for my black brothers and sisters became collateral damage in my new political thinking.
I continued on this political path until January of 2009. That’s when the Lord let me know He loved both Democrats and Republicans and I should do the same. He told me that I could be delivered of my attitudes toward Democrats if I quit listening to news programs and conservative talk radio – AND – quit voting in elections.
It took six months, but the Lord’s proposals changed my life. I no longer looked at a person through a political mindset. I saw each person as a valued being, created in God’s image, one who Jesus died for on the cross and one who He loved with all of His heart.
Take a deep breath, okay?
I am not you. The Lord knows my heart and how to set me free of my attitudes. If you have a bad attitude toward Democrats or Republicans, seek the Lord on how to love them as He does.
Just so you know: I don’t listen to the news, but I do read some news articles and check out headlines on news sites on the internet. Thus, I do keep abreast of what is happening in America and the world.
And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. (Mark 4:24 AMP)
As I wrote earlier, love for my black brothers and sisters became collateral damage with my change in political thinking. My spiritual ears no longer heard their cries for freedom nor did I feel their pain anymore. This love did not return when the Lord delivered me of my attitudes toward Democrats, but instead my attitude was that my black brothers and sisters needed to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and join the twenty-first century here in America.
Sadly, I forgot how I wasn’t able to set myself free from most of my problems without the help of other believers.
Bear one another’s burden, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
Thus, I ask forgiveness from my black brothers and sisters for my sin of being lukewarm in loving them.
(Excerpt from my upcoming book entitled A Black River by Larry Nevenhoven)